Tri­umph and dis­as­ter

20 clas­sic sports doc­u­men­taries to down­load to­day.

Esquire (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS - Words by Paul Wil­son

Twenty clas­sic sports doc­u­men­taries to down­load to­day.

It’s no sur­prise the genre of non-fic­tion films about ath­letic en­deav­our and sur­round­ing is­sues is re­ferred to mainly as “sports” doc­u­men­taries rather than “sport-no-s”. The best tend to be made by US film-mak­ers, about US sports and ath­letes and the way life seems some­times to con­nect to those pas­times in a deeper, more pro­found way than in other coun­tries, even in the UK. De­spite the best ef­forts of the BBC, BT Sport and a cou­ple of lone fea­ture film-mak­ers, in this game, we’re play­ing catch-up. The bedrock of sports doc­u­men­taries is ESPN’S 30 for 30 se­ries, a sea­son of 30 films to mark the sports me­dia ti­tan’s 30th an­niver­sary. A huge suc­cess, it has since grown to more than 100 films, shown in the UK on BT Sport chan­nels, in­clud­ing spin-offs and shorts. Those shorts, at, make ex­cel­lent pod­cast al­ter­na­tives. There are three 30 for 30 films in Esquire’s line-up of sports-doc ex­cel­lence, in­clud­ing 2017 Bafta- and Os­car-win­ners Hills­bor­ough and OJ: Made in Amer­ica. “The best films of this kind bring con­text,” says Libby Geist, VP and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of ESPN Films, who over­sees 30 for 30. “Peo­ple seem to think they know the sto­ries, but a film-maker can step back and show rea­sons why and how, which the ev­ery­day nar­ra­tive of sport of­ten lacks.” Geist cites Senna (2010) as among her favourite films; here, in­clud­ing that mas­ter­piece, are ours.

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