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Recommended Documentaries

This is a topic where you can say which documentary has really impressed you, and why people should see it. Can be a recent one or an all-time favourite. Can't be your own though, sorry...

We also have a Documentary Films topic for our Professionals where the debate is private and possibly more controversial. This topic here is for recommendations to the documentary-interested public.

This topic is for praising the work of others, not your own. If you want to beat the drum for your own documentary, please don't do it here. Enthusiasts use our Public Classifieds, and Professionals have their own Shameless Self-Promotion topic.

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Jennifer Gli
Sun 8 May 2011Link

In reply to John Burgan's post on Sun 17 Apr 2011 :

Heart-breaking, but great work. Any plans to do a feature length doc on this subject?


John Burgan
Tue 10 May 2011Link

Academy-Award nominated filmmaker (and long time member of The D-Word) James Longley (IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS) has made his 2002 documentary GAZA STRIP available for free online in its entirety:

Edited Tue 10 May 2011 by John Burgan

Kurt Engfehr
Tue 17 May 2011Link

great little film about the Salton Sea and the strange community that used to surround it and what's left of it.


Jason Osder
Tue 17 May 2011Link

Working on a crash course with a motivated student, I noticed how many great docs are on Netflix streaming these days. Thought I'd share a sample here:

Harlan County USA
Last Train Home
Man on Wire
When We Were Kings
It Might Get Loud
The Oath
Marwencol


John Frisbie
Wed 25 May 2011Link

In reply to James Longley's post on Sun 10 Apr 2011 : I agree. It muckracks to the point that it glosses over some of the real story. but, too, i wonder how else it might have been done.


John Frisbie
Wed 25 May 2011Link

I tend to get on a high after seeing a great movie – but Last Train Home was a masterpiece.


Fiona Otway
Wed 25 May 2011Link

In reply to Kurt Engfehr's post on Tue 17 May 2011 :

Some gorgeous footage in there... I've seen several docs popping up about the Salton Sea lately... Here's one I'm eager to check out:


Marth Christensen
Thu 2 Jun 2011Link

Just finished "Genghis Blues", re: Paul Pena and Tuvan throatsinging (netflix). It is great! I swear I put it on my queue because of something I recently read here, but can't find the posting. I read Fyneman's "Tuva or Bust!" years ago. I'm sure I have the companion record somewhere around the house.


Marj Safinia
Thu 2 Jun 2011Link

It's one of my favs!


Jason Osder
Thu 2 Jun 2011Link

Yes!


Barbara Rick
Sun 12 Jun 2011Link

Thoroughly enjoyed Page One. Caught it recently at a special screening at a brunch event for Film Forum supporters. David Carr and Brian Stelter are brilliant. As a lifelong journalist, it thrilled me. Two of my favorite docs this year take place behind-the-scenes at The Times– this one and Bill Cunningham NY.


Danielle Beverly
Sun 12 Jun 2011Link

Barbara, the trailer reads like a fiction. The soundbites are phenomenal.


Barbara Rick
Sun 12 Jun 2011Link

Loved it, Danielle.


Kurt Engfehr
Tue 14 Jun 2011Link

here's a newfangled 'interactive documentary' supported by our good friends from the north, the NFB. it's a look at a small town in Canada that was closed! http://pinepoint.nfb.ca/#/pinepoint

it's part photo album, documentary and oral history. real interesting stuff.


Marth Christensen
Tue 14 Jun 2011Link

That is FASCINATING! Thanks.


Scheffee Wilson
Tue 14 Jun 2011Link

1. Capitalism: A Love Story
2.


Kate Imbach
Thu 16 Jun 2011Link

In reply to Kurt Engfehr's post on Tue 14 Jun 2011 :

how interesting! thanks for the rec!


Reid B. Kimball
Sat 18 Jun 2011Link

Hi everyone,

Not sure if I should ask here or somewhere else. I'm wondering if anyone knows of a "first person" documentary film? Meaning, the film is about a person but it is filmed from their perspective. For example, I'm the director, the film is about my story and I film everything from my view.

Edited Sat 18 Jun 2011 by Reid B. Kimball

Ramona Diaz
Sat 18 Jun 2011Link

There's a whole slew but a seminal work in this genre is Ross McElwee's Sherman's March.


Eliaichi Kimaro
Sun 19 Jun 2011Link

In reply to Reid B. Kimball's post on Sat 18 Jun 2011 :
Hi Reid, I know this isn't the place for self-promo, but in answer to your question, my film A Lot Like You is a first person doc...


Reid B. Kimball
Sun 19 Jun 2011Link

Yay! Thank you Ramona and Eliaichi, I will check both of these out today.


Ben Kempas
Sun 19 Jun 2011Link

Well, most of the films directed by D-Word founder Doug Block are first-person docs...


Jo-Anne Velin
Mon 20 Jun 2011Link

In reply to Reid B. Kimball's post on Sun 19 Jun 2011 :

Tarnation.


Nick Verbitsky
Wed 6 Jul 2011Link

My pick would be AMERICAN HARDCORE.

As a lifelong music freak (and former employee of WNEW-FM NYC, the world's GREATEST rock station ever) it moved me in ways no other film has. I always thought punk rock was noise, but this film really got me into the artistry of it, the characters involved, and after I watched it, I bought more songs on iTunes than I had in a long time by bands I never knew much about-Bad Brains, Dead Boys, Minor Threat, etc.

Most touching of all was the story of how Johnny Ramone stole Joey's girlfriend and married her-it was a scar the shy/sociall awkward Joey carried with him until he died-really showed that these artists are dimensional and above all, very human. I couldn't recommend this film more highly.....


John Gyovai
Tue 12 Jul 2011Link

Got to give it up to just a few of my favorite films with the word "Devil" in the title: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qtFPOxDMs4


John Gyovai
Tue 12 Jul 2011Link

Part II: The Devil's Miner
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqk-Scp6Lw8


Piers Sanderson
Wed 20 Jul 2011Link

I have just watched Danfung Dennis's 'Hell and BAck Again' – WOW! It raises the bar for camera and editing. In the recent glut of war docs this one really holds its own.


Sam Gaty
Thu 21 Jul 2011Link

I'll re-rec IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS and add a few others to the list:

THE GLEANERS AND I (Anges Varda)
F IS FOR FAKE (Orson Wells)
MONDO VINO (Jonathan Nossiter)
GASLAND (Josh Fox)
THE UP SERIES (Michael Apted)


kesang choki
Wed 31 Aug 2011Link

Hi Reid! i would recommend, "The Gleaners and I" and the "Queen and I"In reply to Reid B. Kimball's post on Sat 18 Jun 2011 :


John Burgan
Wed 31 Aug 2011Link

Alternative list compiled by London doc producer John Wyver to the current Morgan Spurlock/Current TV series: 50 (more) docs before you die


Michael B. McGee
Wed 14 Sep 2011Link

In reply to Scheffee Wilson's post on Tue 14 Jun 2011 :

+1 on Capitalsim: A Love Story

unbelievably heartbreaking.


Ben Kempas
Sun 18 Sep 2011Link

D-Worders may remember that we did a special topic two years ago on the controversy surrounding the release of Fredrik Gertten's film, BANANAS!*.

For those of you who (like me) didn't have a chance to see the film on the festival circuit, you can now watch it on Distrify – and finally make up your own minds.

Highly recommended!


Jo-Anne Velin
Mon 19 Sep 2011Link

Congratulations to distrify for having Bananas on the platform (which is looking terrific, by the way – I always loved the triangles as their logo)!


Ben Kempas
Mon 19 Sep 2011Link

It's more of a matter of Dogwoof partnering with Distrify for their entire online distribution. Fredrik didn't even know BANANAS!* was up there. :-)

I#m just wondering if the above rental works anywhere or whether it's been geo-blocked for UK availability only?


Eli Brown
Mon 19 Sep 2011Link

I clicked on the rent and it put a "sign up for email notification for when it's available in your area" notice. So, I think it is geo-blocking...


Pablo Alvarez
Wed 21 Sep 2011Link

Yeah, I did too and that sign-up notice appeared and that made me not want to continue. I sort of tune off sites that ask for my emails for basic access.. was that just because of geo-blocking? or do users have to register to watch a film?


Ben Kempas
Wed 21 Sep 2011Link

Eli – At the moment, it's even doing that here in the UK although Dogwoof is a UK distributor. I've emailed Peter to find out.

Pablo – What do you mean, "for basic access"? You need to register in order to make a purchase (VoD or DVD) or to access your previous VoD purchase. You don't need to register to watch the trailer.


Ben Kempas
Wed 21 Sep 2011Link

Update: the bug is fixed, but the film may still not be available in all territories. (You might have to empty your cache before you try again.)


Pablo Alvarez
Thu 22 Sep 2011Link

In reply to Ben Kempas's post on Wed 21 Sep 2011 :

Fair enough.. I guess I just sort of expected to be directed to a page with a slot for a credit card number and then to the film in two simple steps. Its a great service, don't get me wrong... Thing is i just unconsciously seem to close pages that ask for email addresses up front..


John Burgan
Sat 10 Dec 2011Link

Glass is a 1958 Dutch short documentary film by director and producer Bert Haanstra. The film won the Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject in 1959. (thanks to my former student Anna in Barcelona for sending this)

Edited Sat 10 Dec 2011 by John Burgan

James Longley
Sat 10 Dec 2011Link

It's great – where did I see this before?
Only I can't stand the sound of jazz vibraphone in film soundtracks. But the editing is pretty terrific.

Edited Sat 10 Dec 2011 by James Longley

John Burgan
Sat 10 Dec 2011Link

Then check out Broadway by Light by William Klein, 1958 – prepare to be blown away)

Edited Sat 10 Dec 2011 by John Burgan

John Burgan
Sat 10 Dec 2011Link

Here's the final one of the three this evening: Portrait of Ga by Margaret Tait (1955) – also a gift from Anna

Edited Sat 10 Dec 2011 by John Burgan

David Herman
Sat 10 Dec 2011Link

lovely indeed.


David Herman
Tue 13 Dec 2011Link

Whoever has not seen 5 broken cameras DO IT (if for no other reason than to question your humanity)


James Longley
Wed 14 Dec 2011Link

That always packs 'em in. People love to question their humanity.
That's an amazing film, though, all joking aside. See it if you can.


James McNally
Thu 22 Dec 2011Link

Forgive me if this has been posted elsewhere (I tried searching) but Jane Weiner is trying to raise funds for her film Ricky On Leacock over on Kickstarter and the deadline is January 1st. The film is only around 30% funded so far and it's an incredibly important project about a towering figure in documentary filmmaking. Please check it out and, if you can, support it with a pledge: http://kck.st/sSwdQs


Doug Block
Thu 22 Dec 2011Link

I second your recommendation, James. Jane's an old friend of mine and we've worked together on 3 films as producers (including my own Home Page). But separating that out, it's a project well worth supporting. Leacock is, indeed, a towering figure in doc history.


Jacob Bricca
Tue 7 Feb 2012Link

In reply to Marj Safinia's post on Thu 17 Mar 2011 :

I'm honored to see La Mancha (which I edited) in such esteemed company. It was a tough edit. At times it seemed like our film, too, would suffer the fate of Gilliam's!


Jacob Bricca
Tue 7 Feb 2012Link

In reply to John Burgan's post on Sat 10 Dec 2011 :

Thanks so much for putting up this link to "Glass." I've looked for it online before and never found it.


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