The most curious of the episodes is “Summer of the Shark,” a more overtly autobiographical episode in which Sasha Stone juxtaposes her own coming of age in the mid-Seventies with the how the film industry shifted to a more blockbuster-heavy emphasis following the staggering financial success of Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws.” On the one hand, it doesn’t really offer much in the way of new insights on the topic of Hollywood’s move from telling stories to creating pre-packaged events, and the one interesting notion raised—the way in which this move tended to treat young female moviegoers almost as afterthoughts—gets a little lost in the shuffle. On the other hand, the more impressionistic moments illustrating the young Stone and her sister getting lost in the magic of the movies over that summer are striking enough to make one wish to see an entire feature film along those lines.
As it turns out, the best and most interesting episode of “Voir” is the final one, “Profane and Profound,” in which Walter Chaw examines Walter Hill’s 1982 hit “48 Hrs”—which he saw for the first time when he was in the third grade—as a still-audacious examination of systemic racism. The film continues to pack a punch nearly 40 years after it first burst on the scene and transformed Eddie Murphy into a superstar unlike any that Hollywood had ever seen. As a passionate fan of Hill and his often-stunning, if sometimes overlooked, body of work, it’s refreshing to see this film analyzed as more than simply the progenitor of the buddy cop subgenre that would emerge in its wake. Chaw’s analysis of the film and its impact on him merges the critical and the personal in smart, incisive ways that will have most viewers reaching for their copy of it as soon as the episode is over. Although “Voir” as a whole is ultimately worth a look, “Profane and Profound” is ultimately the keeper of the bunch and if another series of episodes comes along, here’s hoping that future contributors will look towards it as an inspiration for their own efforts.
All episodes of season one screened for review. “Voir” premieres today on Netflix.
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