I’ll be honest, not all documentaries are good. Some don’t leave you wanting more, some fail to inspire and some might even put you to sleep. But the best of them, like the films below, suck you in like a kid in a candy store and can be unusual, pervasive and seductive.
1) The Actress : Brandy Burre misses being in the spotlight- her A-type personality and big dreams don’t quite fit with her quiet suburban life.
Far beyond the simple telling of facts, docs often fill some of the void left by the news. They’re often based on real life, in depth and engaging for their unpredictability.
2) Finding Vivian Maier : She hid her identity and used fake names. Not even her closest of friends knew who she really was or what she was up to…
Documentaries can have an alluring nature, capable of captivating an audience. These films reveal subject matter that can create an exciting contradictory tug of disbelief and validation of truth, leaving us wanting more…
3) Citizenfour : A reporter is contacted by an anonymous whistleblower who wants to reveal the National Security Agency’s illegal activities, post 9/11.
Some of the best docs often reveal or suggest to us illicit, never before seen or provocative images. They can present a different aspect or way of looking at something that we might take for granted. Traditional attitudes can be shaken and reassessed, based on evidence presented by a documentary with an original twist.
4) Blackfish : You can call this nothing else but a mother whale grieving for her baby.
Stories told within a documentary can arouse certain creative imagery in the viewers’ minds. They take us for a thrill ride.
5) Keep On Keepin’ On: A jazz legend mentors a piano prodigy.
It may be risqué, but these daring directors believe in a reveal of truth and a right to know. These docs often tell stories with an open-mindedness that express the freedoms that we embrace in our democratic society – a freedom of information intrinsically connected to freedom of expression. It can be an unveiling of sorts.
6) The Invisible War : Brave U.S. soldier, Kori Cioca, recounts the first time she was sexually attacked and the consequential ignorance of the military.
Many of the people showcased in great docs can be sweet and charming. We can deeply connect with those we agree with, sharing in their emotions, life struggles and triumphs. The films that invoke an emotional rise out of us, truly have the power to pull at our heartstrings.
7) Blood Brother : Once Rocky Braat visited an AIDS orphanage in India, he fell in love with the kids and couldn’t stay away.
Or, they can be shockingly hypocritical and infuriating, yet entertaining. There is an engaging mutual identification amongst the viewers against the onscreen villains who appall us with their misguided attitudes.
8) Bully: This school’s supervisor is either incredibly ignorant or completely delusional to a victim of bullying.http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xqzogj
Docs often inspire impassioned and miraculous movements of change. They have an ongoing effect, long after the final credits roll.
9) Alive Inside: Henry, a nursing home patient, suffers from dementia and sits spiritless, barely saying a word to anyone… until the Music & Memory program gave him an iPod and played his favourite tunes from his past.
And the best can be enticing. An accelerated intensity draws us in as much as any romantic drama or thriller – sending our hearts and minds racing. Something is triggered inside us – call it inspiration or a raised consciousness. In any case, it’s difficult to walk away from such a compelling film without feeling seduced.
10) Catfish: He was chatting to the girl of his dreams… or so he thought…