Streaming reviews: Schumacher’s documentary is a slow burn of life on the fast lane
It is grimly ironic that someone who has lived their life so dangerously nearly lost it on a ski slope in France.
He did not die that day in 2013, but it is clear that the life of racing driver Michael Schumacher and that of his family has changed irrevocably.
Using a mix of archive footage and interviews with those who know him best, Schumacher tells the story of the seven-time German Formula 1 champion, since his first encounter with kart racing at the age of four – soon he “was racing like a boy against these tough men”.
It quickly became one of the hottest properties in the sport, challenging the biggest names of the time and starting a rivalry with his childhood hero Ayrton Senna, which only ended when the Brazilian star was died in an accident while “trying to stay in front of Schumacher”.
He drove for Ferrari at a time when, according to teammate Eddie Irvine, “we didn’t really understand how bad the car was.” Schumacher still won.
Despite all the perils of his chosen career, his wife Corinna admitted, “It just never occurred to me that anything could happen to Michael.
At just under two hours, this documentary sometimes seems unreasonably lengthy. There is a lot of racing and revving. In fact, it wasn’t until 11 minutes from time that the program finally faced Schumacher’s skiing accident, where he suffered a serious head injury.
He has not been seen in public since, but, while Schumacher’s father, brother, wife and children take part in this documentary, they staunchly refuse to give anything.
The extreme reluctance with which the film tackles the current state of its subject matter has been criticized, but Corinna makes no apologies.
“Michael has always protected us and now we are protecting Michael,” she said.
A satisfying consequence of this decision is that the creators were forced to celebrate the life of this intensely private man rather than defining him through what was simply a horrific accident. He refuses that viewers become voyeurs.
This means the film has less of the sensational reveals and twists that the documentary genre increasingly relies on to make an impact, but ultimately the enormous loss suffered by his family and the racing world. that day at the top of a snow-capped mountain in France is all the more scorching. .
When Julia Holcomb was 16, she started a “relationship” with Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler.
The first night they met, he asked her if she was a virgin, before bringing her back to her hotel room. The next day, she returned home to get permission from her mother to go on tour with him.
After living together over the summer, Tyler told Holcomb that he would have to become his legal guardian or he could be arrested. Her mom duly signed the papers, now saying she was doing it because everyone was okay with it, so she thought it must be okay too.
This is a line repeated often by those interviewed in Look away, Sky’s poignant investigation into so-called “groupie” abuse from male rock stars in the music scene of the 1970s and 1980s.
Jackie Fuchs, former bassist for girl rock group The Runaways, remembers how her own manager raped her in front of the other guests at a party. None of them intervened to stop him.
“I wanted so badly to be in a band, but the truth was, it was hell,” she says. “In the 1970s, women didn’t really have role models to become musicians. The closest we could get was being groupies.
The Runaways songwriter Kari Krome puts it this way: “Rock and roll pretty much celebrates bad behavior. When you see everyone around you doing it, it normalizes. “
Look away perhaps combing familiar ground with these stories, but that doesn’t make them any less shocking or necessary.
For the affected women, their pain is as sharp as if it had been yesterday. Especially those who have been exploited in the name of rock music, don’t feel like there has been enough light in the sleazy corners of the music business.
Krome is adamant that everyone knew what was going on, but no one said anything, and “the #MeToo movement didn’t seem to put a stop to it.”
We can only hope that Look away may play a late role in redressing this injustice.
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