Looking for the best films and series relating to media? Here are our seven favorites which you can watch at Tugaflix (https://tugaflix.club).
The Newsroom (TV series, USA 2012-2014, 3 seasons)
Assi-TV, Hartz IV-TV, lower-class TV – we have a lot of unflattering expressions for the television programs of the private broadcasters. We wondered why doesn’t someone make an honest, fact-based, and informative news program without sensationalism and fluffy facts? This is exactly what the newsroom of the fictional US cable broadcaster ACN Networks thought. But that is easier said than done. Because in the constant fight against falling audience ratings and the station management that has to satisfy advertisers, investigative journalism and morality often have to cut back. Very exciting series by Oscar-winner Aaron Sorkin (The Westwing), which, especially in the first season, gives a good insight into the mechanisms of large media companies and makes it clear how business with journalism ticks.
Borgen – Dangerous rope teams (TV series, Denmark 2010-2013, 3 seasons)
What does a Spin Doctor actually do? Manipulate, influence, gloss over? The great Danish series Borgen (Eng. “Burg”, Danish abbreviation for Christiansborg, the seat of the Danish government in Copenhagen) shows how politics and journalism are related, mutually influencing and interdependent. Unlike most American series, Borgen seems much closer to our German politics and mentality, which makes it a lot more believable. Will Angela Merkel & Co. pull the political strings just as much as the fictional Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg?
Nightcrawler (film, USA 2014)
A decisive argument why you should definitely watch this film? Of course, Jake Gyllenhaal. But there are many other good arguments. For example the dynamics of the film. The main character Louis Bloom goes from being a petty criminal to a nightcrawler – a cameraman who always tries to get the first pictures of accidents and violent crimes and to forward them to the news channels. Bloom is becoming more and more successful and the television station it serves is becoming more and more demanding: more blood, more violence, more victims. That increases the audience. Bloom is now more and more of the director of the incidents and influences them in such a way that the images become increasingly brutal. With this he becomes the master of life and death, a catastrophe is inevitable. Above all, Nightcrawler makes us think about the limits of reporting. How topical the topic is in Germany is shown not least by the film adaptation of Gladbeck’s hostage drama: The most public crime that has been seen in this country – for many the fall of man of German journalism.
Matthew Goodman: The Fastest Women in the World (non-fiction, 2017, btb)
In this non-fiction book based on a true story, two American women compete around the world in 1889. The goal: to be faster than Phileas Fogg, who travels around the world in 80 days in Jules Verne’s novel. The two are sent off by their newspapers: Nellie Bly starts for the daily newspaper New York World, Elizabeth Bisland for the magazine Cosmopolitain. The calculation of the media gods of Gotham: increase in circulation. Soon the world travel – the two travel in opposite directions – develop into a media spectacle. Every day newspapers across the country report and the world is launching a competition: “Estimate Nellie Bly’s travel time to the second and win a trip!”. The highlight: only one lottery ticket is issued for each newspaper copy. Nellie Bly is becoming more and more popular and so she will probably be the first testimonial in media history: There are hats, bags, games and dishes with her likeness. The book is a wonderful description of how media work – then as now.
Thank you for smoking (film, USA 2005)
The PR representatives from the alcohol, tobacco and weapons industries sit around a table (see above) and talk about who of the three is responsible for the most deaths in society. Dear prospective PR students, if you want to know whether you REALLY want to take up this profession, “Thank you for smoking” is a must. If only because the mechanisms of lobbying and manipulation via talk shows are relentlessly, amusingly sarcastically exposed. A tough subject loosely packed into a comedy. And of course PR works very differently in reality – provided you don’t work for the cigarette, alcohol, weapons, confectionery, nuclear power or automotive industries.