Andy Murray: Resurfacing (2019)
Where’s it on? Amazon Prime
What a strange time for men’s tennis. The world’s greatest players are growing old, the new crop aren’t yet fully grown. Resurfacing shows Andy Murray’s battle to stay in the game, through four years of injury and rehab – including recovery from an operation to resurface his hip. We see the former world number one physically worn out but mentally all-in, if only his body would play ball…
Occasionally drifting across the line into hagiography, Olivia Cappuccini’s documentary nonetheless captures Murray’s emotional candour as his identity takes a hammering. Most of all it’s testimony to the amount of work it takes to defy time, biology and – perhaps – logic in order to keep playing the sport you love to the level that you love playing it.
George Best: Football as Never Before (1971)
Where’s it on? Mubi
Switching over to the football and German director Hellmuth Costard’s real-time runaround of Old Trafford with George Best during a 1970 match between Manchester United and Coventry City. A precursor to Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno’s similarly marvellous Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, Costard’s film is as much a case study of the mechanics of sporting genius – the micro-moments of foresight and strength that make one player better than all the others – as a historical record of football (and society) at the time. Running, passing, shouting, spitting – Best is a magnetic screen presence. The haircuts are extraordinary, of course.
Where’s it on? BFI Southbank and cinemas nationwide
The story of Moomins creator Tove Jansson’s struggle to make it as a ‘proper’ artist, before her hippo-like scribbles upped and took over the world with their massive, charming faces. Finnish director Zaida Bergroth’s subtle biopic traces a line between the ins and outs of Jansson’s personal life – the fiery dad, the politically powerful boyfriend, the flighty, inspirational girlfriend – and the fantasy world she created. With brilliant performances by Alma Pöysti as Jansson and Krista Kosonen as her lover, Vivica, it’s a film that reflects its subject: quiet and dignified on the surface, joyous and passionate at heart.
Where’s it on? Netflix
The fourth season of this reality TV show about ‘Yachties’ – the staff of luxury yachts – has docked at Netflix. Debuting on Bravo in 2013, Below Deck brilliantly balances grit and glamour, with the crew working themselves silly to hide their feuds from their overlords – the guests who’ve chartered the boat – and the implacable Captain Lee. It’s like Gosford Park on water. Add in minimal time off and a feisty drinking culture and you have a show that bobs merrily from panic station to panic station. Undeniably more-ish telly.
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets (2020)
Where’s it on? BFI Player
A hangover from a few weeks past (the film launched on BFI Player on 25 June), but this brew is worth sampling late. Bill and Turner Ross’s documentary-ish recreates the final hours of Las Vegas dive bar The Roaring 20s, before time was called for good. Gathering the regulars for a last round (or two, or three, or …) the Ross brothers tap expertly into that feeling of a long night in a warm place where anything could happen, but most likely it will be drinking. Is the bar real? Would the ‘regulars’ be there if they weren’t filming? The answers are lost in a heady fug.