Bella may be the most anticipated film of 2021, but it’s not the only one out there. Here are five other albums, songs, and projects you should know about.
This year will mark the 100th anniversary of Prince Edward, the Duke of Windsor’s death. To commemorate this historic event, the British government is set to honour the Prince’s life with a series of films and documentaries. One of the projects released so far is The Private Lives of The Imperials, a four-part documentary series that explores the Prince’s controversial marriage to the American socialite and divorcée, Wallis Simpson. The episodes are set to be aired on BBC One throughout the year and mark the start of a new era for the institution of royalty in Britain.
Whether you agree with the Prince’s decision to wed Simpson or not, the documentary offers an interesting insight into the controversial private life of an important royal figure. It won a Golden Globe for Best Non-Fiction Television Series in 2019.
2. First Love
Another romantic documentary in the works from the government-funded Love Productions. First Love traces the love story of Margaret and Michael. The couple met while working as nurses in World War II and despite being separated by the war, they continued to fall in love. After Michael’s death in 1966, Margaret devoted the rest of her life to his memory. To celebrate the couple’s wedding anniversary, the documentary’s director, Michael Barrett, is set to unveil a new romantic portrait of the royal nurse and the love that dared to survive.
First Love is expected to premiere in the summer of 2021 and will explore how the hardships of war affected their long-awaited wedding day. It remains to be seen if the public will be granted access to this private moment in Michael and Margaret’s story as the government-funded documentary will be aired after the wedding ceremony.
3. The Black Album
Another romantic documentary in the works from the government-funded Love Productions. The Black Album is said to explore the true story of British PM David Lloyd George’s (1863-1945) notorious ‘Black Diaries’. The diaries were the private journals of the prime minister from 1909 to 1918 and are considered one of the most significant literary works of the modern era. The journals were written in secret and largely unseen until now.
The Black Album will use the correspondence between Lloyd George and his lover, Frieda Rikhsman, as a starting point for an intimate portrayal of the first popularly elected prime minister. The movie’s production designer, Lola Appleton, has created a literary-themed interior with some of the greatest literary names from the period interacting with Lloyd George through letters and telegrams as they attempt to engage with each other and the public on political and social issues of the day. Some of the historical figures whose lives are explored in the film include H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, and Winston Churchill.
The first edition of Lloyd George’s diaries was published in 1934, though it was not considered canon among historians until much later. It was known as The Prime Minister and His ‘Black Diaries’ throughout the interwar period and gained renewed popularity following the Second World War. However, it was not until the late 1960s that the public at large began to become aware of the work of this influential political figure – long after his death in 1945.
4. The Island
This year also saw the premiere of The Island, a Netflix original documentary about the Japanese island of Namibia. The film focuses on a group of anthropologists who travel to the isolated island to study primatology (the study of primates) and set up home there for a year. The movie recounts the strange but exciting events that unfold as the scientists struggle to adapt to the harsh conditions of the island. The group becomes embroiled in a conflict with local farmers who object to the scientists’ presence and wish to see them leave.
The Island has been a critical and commercial success, earning over 75 awards including a GQ Best Actor nomination for star, John Cusack. It is also the most watched non-English Netflix original to date. One of its major themes is isolationism – the desire of the scientists to retreat from the world to the safety of a pristine island full of wildlife – which may be relevant to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Following its premiere in 2020, Netflix has ordered a second season of The Island.
5. White Darkness
Finally, let’s not forget about the most critically acclaimed documentary of the year – Netflix’s White Darkness, a harrowing tale of a racist gang in modern-day Newcastle. Starring Donal Logue, the film follows an investigation into the death of a local teen, Liam Platt. Platt was the first in his family to attend university and became embroiled in a conflict with a white supremacist gang who targeted him for being ‘different’. White Darkness is considered one of the most significant films of the decade and was selected for the BFI Flare Screen Festival in April 2021.
The documentary charts the true story of a group of young men from Newcastle who were radicalised by the far right and formed a racist gang. It focuses on the town’s response to the gang, which included a public meeting at which former heavyweight boxing champion, Frank Bruno, delivered a damning speech against racism. The documentary also explores the changing nature of modern-day football and the role that social media plays in the games’ growing popularity, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Netflix’s White Darkness is a must-see for anyone interested in current affairs, racism, and football. What more could you ask for?
With the year now drawing to a close, it’s time to look forward to next year and what musical projects we can expect to see. Brought to you by Pure Volume, find out more about the albums, songs, and projects that earned these five spots on our list.