List compiled by Eddie on 29/11/2013
Over the last few decades more than ever before documentaries have become a hugely popular and important part of every film lover’s life. Documentaries have provided us with such household names as Michael Moore and proved to be money makers up there with the summer blockbusters. When talking about documentaries growth over this time period it’s clear to see that all manner of directors whether old hands or fresh faces are pushing the genre to it’s limits with brave, beautiful and impeccably constructed documentary features becoming more and more common.
Picking a list of a mere 5 must see’s (this is not a “greatest documentaries ever” list) is no easy feat but I believe all of the below films are all brilliant in their own right and act as a fine example of what a documentary can do in concerns to inspiring us, making us angry or merely making us happy. For Jordan’s list, click here! Happy reading and happy watching!
Disclaimer – I can’t put an exact finger on why it is the case but 2008 was a fantastic year for documentary films and despite seeming odd to have so many feature in this list to be truthful to my thoughts I could not exclude any of the below mentioned films.
5 – Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2008)
Director: Sacha Gervasi
A truly funny and strangely inspiring tale of pioneer heavy metal band Anvil and there attempt over 30 years to make it big. Featuring an array of characters that seem to good be true with highlight including Steve “Lips” Kudlow the lead singer and Robb Reiner the drummer, Anvil is not only for music fans but for anyone who is chasing their dreams no matter what the cost.
4 – Waltz with Bashir (2008)
Director: Ari Folman
Presented in a stunning animation format Waltz with Bashir as directed by real life participant Ari Folman is a haunting look back into the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and the mental and physical tole it took out on the soldiers. A brave, haunting and startlingly original documentary that should be seen by all.
3 – Deliver us from Evil (2006)
Director: Amy Berg
No doubt on the Catholic Churches banned list Amy Berg’s 2006 expose on child abuse cover ups in the Catholic system is shocking and sad in equal measure. Complied in a respectful yet unflinching manner Berg’s film pulls no punches in presenting cold hard facts against these crimes against humanity.
2 – Dear Zachary: A letter to a son about his father (2008)
Director: Kurt Kuenne
One who has seen Dear Zachary feels a need to not mention plot details to those yet to partake in the emotional roller coaster that Kurt Kuenne’s now infamous film is. A simple summary of the film would be that of one friends touching tribute to the memory of his lifelong buddy that takes a turn to unexpected and sometimes unbearably dark moments. A must see!
1 – Man on Wire (2008)
Director: James Marsh
An awe inspiring recount and look at tightrope walker and general mad man Phillipe Petit’s break in and subsequent tightrope walk between the then standing New York’s World Trade Centre buildings. Director Marsh mixes in fabulous talking head segments with the real participants mixed with great archival footage and even more thrilling re-enactments. Man on Wire is a unique and captivating film and showcases just what can be done with a well-made and well told documentary film.
Honourable mentions – Undefeated (2011), Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010), Grizzly Man (2005), Bus 174 (2002), The King of Kong (2007), Murderball (2005), Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006), George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011), The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2003), The Cove (2009)
How does this list of must see documentaries compare to your list? Let us know in the comments below.