Posted by Sari
Everybody and their sister is saying this but it is still true: Digibox is a worth-wile investment just because YLE Teema. Almost every day there is something really worth watching. At the moment my favourite is Ken Burn's documentary on American Civil war. Burns is justly famous for his documentaries, in fact his way of uniting spoken dialogue with zooming in and out of stills has become such a part of film-making that the zooming and panning effect is actually called Ken Burns Effect.
I love Burns documentaries, propably most because he is really good at picking interesting subjects. His historical documentaries have a pretty impressive range from Frank Lloyd Wright to Baseball and from the history of Radio to American Suffragettes, and they all manage show light on one more piece of America.
Burns does follow the same pattern which can be a bit boring (you can and you really should download an absolutely brilliant Burns spoof "Old Negro Space Program" here), but the makers have made a real effort of digging up material for their films. The amount of pictures, paintings, letters, diaries and other documents make the story intimate and interesting. Even though his narrator frames the story and he obviously has chosen his original material to match, the scope of the narrative mixed with his nose for genuinely good human interest stories balance films out nicely.
Ken's brother Ric is also a maker of documentaries and had produced my favourite documentary ever: The history of New York. Last time I was over there I bit the bullet and bought the whole glorious fifteen hours of it. Now if YLE would buy that. Or better yet, make good historical documentaries. Sodan ja Rauhan miehet was the last good one, and that film is about quarter of a century old...
Edited to Add: Shelby Foote, the honey-voiced novelist/amateur historian who was the main talking head in the Civil War documentary died on last Monday night