Here Are The 15 Finest Documentaries You Can Watch Right Now:
The documentary form has a lot more types of movies than most people think. Docs are a type of film that generally tries to teach or tell about a non-fiction story or subject, yet that’s not their only goal.
Some want to make people feel or remember certain things more than anything else, while others want to make a convincing case or point of view, and still others just want to entertain people, like a work of fiction might. Also, some films try to do all of these things at the same time, or they might try to do something completely different.
Since the Lumière brothers’ work, documentaries have given directors a way to look at and watch life in all its beauty as well as horror, and also to play with the lines between fact and fiction. When you sit down, you anticipate discovering an absolute truth, but you are informed that it does not exist.
A great documentary can tell an amazing story while also touching people’s hearts. Over the years, some truly amazing films have been made about everything from murder cases to inside looks at the animal world.
Bowling For Columbine:
Before crime films became popular on Netflix, Bowling for Columbine used a horrible crime run as a starting point to look at American society and its love of guns that never seems to end. The story revolves around the tragic killing of more than 20 people at Columbine High School in 1999.
Bowling for Columbine, one of the greatest movies of 2002, was probably Michael Moore’s most passionate as well as emotional work. The editing and presentation of the movie greatly strengthened its points.
As a documentary, it’s direct and honest, and it performs well as a book for anyone who wants to start a talk about an important subject.
The past is never really over. When Claude Lanzmann made his nine-and-a-half-hour classic about the Holocaust, he would only focus on the present. The thoughts of Polish survivors, onlookers, and, most uncomfortably, the people who did the killing make up Shoah.
The memories come to life, and the act of testifying, which is an important part of making documentary films, reaches its peak. Our first choice was a clear one.
What starts out as an interesting look at Jon Batiste, an Oscar and Grammy-winning artist from New Orleans who is trying to broaden the meaning of a symphony with his upcoming Carnegie Hall debut contracts turns into something much more personal.
Director Matthew Heineman is best known for taking audiences to the front lines of war. He is also very good at showing how the former “Late Show” singer and his successful author wife, Suleika Jaouad, deal with some of life’s hardest problems.
At the same time, Batiste’s personal life is like a roller coaster. He is the first black singer to win Album of the Year within over ten years, and his career is at its peak. To put it simply, you have to see “American Symphony” to believe it.
The Deepest Breath:
The Deepest Breath takes you into the wild world of professional deep-sea diving. It follows the journey of Italian free-diving star Alessia Zecchini as she sets new records and falls in love with Irish safety diver Stephen Keenan. “Addictive and alarming,” wrote reviewer Taylor Antrim.
O.J. Made in the United States shows how O.J. Simpson’s life was full of problems when he was a football player. There are parts of Simpson’s sports career, his trial for killing Nicole Brown as well as Ronald Goldman, and his time in jail for a Las Vegas crime in this documentary.
By juxtaposing the movie with the Watts Riots and the entire Rodney King video, the film illustrates the racial tension experienced by both the African American community and the Los Angeles police force.
The 30 for 30 show on ESPN showed the documentary, which was the most lengthy one ever made. And in 2017, it won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. As a result, it became the longest movie ever nominated for and awarded an Academy Award.
It’s hard to sum up Sans Soleil because it’s a documentary that tries new things with the format and genre. This piece does not have much of a story or a clear point. Instead, it is an artistic journey through a woman’s vague thoughts, many of which are about the meaning of life as well as being human.
That said, Sans Soleil is vague and open to different interpretations. It’s the sort of thing that someone could watch and totally get, understanding it in a way that no one else does.
Sans Soleil might be hard for some people to get into at first, but it’s worth seeing at least once if you like unusual and daring documentaries.
The Thin Blue Line:
Now, we don’t think twice about the fact that films re-create events, use the plot structure of fiction, and creep into poetry.
But when Errol Morris used those methods in his true-crime story about a killed Dallas police officer, it had a powerful and undeniable effect that changed the game.
Morris’s case study, set up like a whodunit story, demonstrated that films could achieve great success and exonerate an innocent man.
That being said, the director was also making a statement about what truth is and what could have been a normal detective movie turned into a real-life Rashomon.
It was a bold and exciting move for him to write nonfiction. After he crossed that line, a huge number of other directors did the same.
This nonfiction expose shows what it’s like to live within North Korea and try to get out of there. This shocking movie, which won the U.S. documentary audience award at Sundance 2023, follows two exciting and risky attempts to flee. Madeleine Gavin, a former editor, directed the film.
Gavin’s in-depth study on North Korea, which included bringing out secret camera video, made her interested in the subject again after she had been hesitant to do so.
Pastor Kim, a brave head of the underground railroad, leads the Rho family of five through Communist China, Vietnam, and Laos on a dangerous trip through woods, mountains, and rivers with the help of fifty agents. Gavin follows two stories as they make their way to safety in Thailand.
He also tries to help Soyeon Lee, a mother who has successfully fled to South Korea but is having a hard time getting her 17-year-old son to join her.
While the Roh story is interesting, dangerous, and strict and is often shot on iPhones by the people involved, the sad story is Soyeon Lee’s failed efforts to save her son, which we see happen in real time.
Gavin does a great job of weaving the two stories together while also giving bits of history and information about life in North Korea.
“Beyond Utopia” is getting important documentary nods that will help it get to the Oscars. The movie got four Critics Choice nominations, including one for Best Feature. It will now compete for the Cinema Eye Honors public award.
This four-part docuseries, directed by Fisher Stevens, will give you an inside look at the highs, lows, and everything in between of soccer superstar David Beckham’s life, from his poor beginnings in East London to the goal that made him a pop culture star.
The documentary features video footage and interviews with Beckham, his family, and a previously unseen group of his old teachers, coworkers, and friends.
The famous Werner Herzog directed Grizzly Man, which is about a bear lover named Timothy Treadwell. Treadwell was interested in grizzly bears and wanted to live with them, but he and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, were killed by one in 2003.
For the documentary, Herzog utilized Treadwell’s own video from the last five years of his life as well as talks with people who knew him.
Herzog found the last video that Treadwell took, which had the sound of his death on it. However, Herzog caught him on camera listening to it, although he did not use it for the documentary.
13th is one of the more important cultural and political films of the last few years. It is hard to watch, but you need to. As it talks about the U.S. jail system, it focuses on how unfair it is for black people.
It compares how prisons work now to how slavery worked in the country’s early days. Some watchers might find it hard to hear and think about, but 13th is very convincing and very good at making the case for this claim.
Great job putting it all together. This is the kind of movie that should annoy, make you think, and make you rethink what you thought you knew. This is all the ways that 13th is a hugely successful documentary.
Night And Fog:
Any talk about Holocaust films has to include Alain Resnais’s somber and deeply moving 30-minute short. A survivor named Jean Cayrol wrote the story. Decades after the ovens had cooled down, the story was spoken in a distant way over images of an empty and broken-down Auschwitz.
Resnais’s camera moves over the landscape as if looking for signs of a puzzle that can’t be solved. Meanwhile, pictures of Nazi medical trials and the sickening effects reveal incomprehensible horrors.
The movie feels like a tale about ghosts, where the dead, even though they are very quiet, ask the living to remember them. The movie will move you to tears and beyond.
One small but important detail in “Bill Russell: Legend” shows how smart and powerful the movie is: There are a lot of talking heads in the two-part documentary, including NBA stars Magic Johnson and Stephen Curry, as well as Russell’s family members and the superstar himself.
Corey Stoll does a great job reading it. But Jeffrey Wright’s voice is also very important to director Sam Pollard’s story. As a way to bring back memories and shed light on times long ago, the “American Fiction” star reads from Russell’s autobiographies, using straight quotes from the famous center’s writing.
“Bill Russell Legend” is not just about the man himself but also about all of his many sides. He was a basketball legend who was interesting to study for his skill alone; he won more team titles and personal victories than most people can even imagine he was also a civil rights icon whose unwavering fight for racial equality began before he became an admired American athlete as well as continued long after he was able to sprint from one side of the Boston Garden to the other.
Pollard’s movie doesn’t leave any stone unturned, but it doesn’t make itself more powerful than it needs to be. Russell’s writings and Wright’s clear and moving retelling of his own memories of events show that the film is not only dedicated to showing Russell’s interesting life but additionally to making as many people remember it as possible. This is a story that deserves to be told effectively and must be told.
Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes direct this movie, which tells the tale of the Jane Collective, a brave group of Chicagoans in the late 1960s and early 1970s who helped women in the area get safe abortions before Roe v. Wade. This story about a brave friendship couldn’t be more current.
March Of The Penguins:
March of the Penguins is an English-language nature video that follows the annual migration of emperor penguins within Antarctica. Michael Freeman reads the narration. The penguins have to get from the ocean to their breeding grounds, and they have to make it through a tough trip in order to do so.
In 2006, the video won the Oscar for Best Video Feature. The movie made $127 million at the box office, making it one of the most successful films ever. Twelve years later, March of the Penguins 2 came out on Hulu as a follow-up.