In a normal world, the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics would be going on at the moment. But those Games, along with the Olympics, were officially postponed to 2021 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. However, there’s now an interesting new documentary out on the history of the Paralympics, and on current Paralympic athletes. It’s called Rising Phoenix, and it’s now streaming on Netflix. Here’s the trailer:
Rising Phoenix is directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui, who previously teamed up for 2018’s McQueen, a documentary on British fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Bonhôte also directed 2016’s Alleycats, while Ettedgui’s credits include writing the 2017 30 for 30 on George Best, George Best: All By Himself, and the 2015 documentary on Marlon Brando, Listen To Me Marlon. So they have some notable documentaries under their belt.
Bonhôte and Ettedgui also managed to arrange a good group of interviewees here. On the athlete side, they feature three athletics athletes (Ntando Mahlangu of South Africa, Tatyana McFadden of the U.S., and Jonnie Peacock of Great Britain), plus one from long jump (Jean-Baptiste Alaize, France), one from swimming (Ellie Cole, Australia), one from archery (Matt Stutzman, U.S.), one from fencing (Bebe Vio, Italy), one from rugby (Ryley Batt, Australia), and one from powerlifting (Cui Zhe, China). So that’s a group from across a wide mix of sports and nationalities, and that fits with Netflix’s global approach to sports stories.
Beyond that, the documentary interviews Andrew Parsons (the current president of the International Paralympic Committee), Sir Philip Craven (the former IPC president), Xavier Gonzalez (the former IPC CEO), Prince Harry (the Duke of Sussex, and the founder of the Invictus Games), and Eva Loffler (daughter of Paralympic Games founder Sir Ludwig Guttmann). So this seems like a pretty wide-ranging look at the Paralympics, past and present. And as the trailer shows, there are some great stories there.
Rising Phoenix can be found on Netflix’s site here.