Some weekends or even some weeks, I need to slow down my reading, and I want to watch something on Netflix for a change. This time I went for two documentaries that were fabulous.

Icarus was gripping, it took a different turn, it went from jovial to deadly serious, -never loosing the humor. What is told is of immense interest and repercussions, the ones who tell it are two very charismatic personalities for different reasons. The American cyclist, Bryan Fogel, is a very unassuming individual, a run of the mill individual with a touch of madness. A medium size monster, as called by the other protagonist of the documentary, Grigory Rodchenkov, who embodies Russia like no other.

I always say that chef programs such as Parts Unknown by Bourdain, and documentaries such as this, teach us much about other countries, politics, culture, and what not, sometimes more than text books, (for our contemporary era, that is.)

Bryan Fogel is a top notch amateur cyclist, on a mission to win a prestigious creme de la creme race. His determination leads him to the sketchy world of chemical boosts, aka, testosterone and a regime of injections and pills aimed to boost his body. At the same time, he enters the world of testing for doping, walking that fine line of playing with substances, and coming clean in the testing protocol. Someone in the world of testing in the US, puts him in contact with Rodchenkov, and a most bizarre friendship ensues.

Then a second documentary, so to speak, starts, when Rodchenkov, Russian president of WADA (World Anti Doping Association), undergoes an investigation along with his whole team and country, lead by an independent committee. I will leave this here, because I do want you to watch this if you have the chance.


Long Shot was much shorter and with a focus on an individual life, versus the much wider repercussions of the previous documentary. More intimate, its ramifications were also of a moral kind. It was very intense too.

Juan Catalan was convicted of a murder, and right at the beginning, he tells us, viewers, how he was hanging out with the wrong crowd. I’m not going to say anymore about what happens, only that this is a documentary about the what ifs we all can spot in our life, and that would have made our life a much different one had they happened, or not. Juan and the documentary moved me to tears.

2 thoughts on “Icarus & The Long Shot

  1. I have a love-hate relationship with documentaries, Silvia: too many of the ones offered on UK terrestrial TV are light, frothy things, not bad in themselves unless the subject is a serious one which, in politics and current affairs, is nearly always the case. Heavyweight ones, as complex as any non-fiction study in depth, should be required viewing for everyone but unless they are headline-grabbing with simplistic messages they make little real impact in effecting change for the better.

    Very occasionally popular documentaries, like those wildlife series co-produced with the BBC, have an impact on popular thinking. A recent Planet Earth programme highlighted the effect throwaway plastic debris is having on marine life: the images of turtles strangled by plastic, a sperm whale trying to chew on a container and a Sargasso Sea-like stretch of floating plastic waste seems to have galvanised public opinion, here in the UK at least.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, yes, it’s either light and frothy, or un supportable, right? (That one you mention about the animals sounds interesting.)
      I google, Netflix best documentaries, read the synopsis, and start watching. If the first minutes don’t grab me, I quit.

      Liked by 1 person

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