best documentariesby rainbowflat | created - 16 Dec 2016 | updated - 23 Mar 2017 | Public
outstanding docos that I've watched since 2012
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1. Ways of Seeing (1972– )
30 min | Documentary, Family
John Berger presents his insights on how people see. Through examples of Art History Berger shows how our very sense of sight has been transformed. By discovering why this is so, according ... See full summary »
Geez, who writes those blurbs?
Frontline (1983– )
A Class Divided
TV-MA | 60 min | Documentary
An expanded edition of William Peters's classic study of the unique eye-color lesson in prejudice and discrimination taught by Iowa schoolteacher Jane Elliott. This new edition continues ... See full summary »
About the original 'Wave' blue/brown eyes classroom experiment, and the class reunion.
6. Der Fisch in uns (2014– )
Have you ever wondered why the human body looks the way it does? Why we walk on two legs instead of four? Why we can see in color but have a lousy sense of smell? Your Inner Fish delves ... See full summary »
Voices (1982– )
To Tell a Story...
65 min | Family
John Berger and Susan Sontag in conversation.
12. The Battle of Chile: Part I (1975)
Not Rated | 191 min | Documentary
The chronicle of the political tension in Chile in 1973 and of the violent counter revolution against the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende.
13. Nostalgia for the Light (2010)
Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary
A documentary about two different searches conducted in the Chilean Atacama Desert: one by astronomers looking for answers about the history of the cosmos, and one by women looking for the remains of loved ones killed by Pinochet's regime.
14. The Pearl Button (2015)
Not Rated | 82 min | Documentary
Delving into the nearly-religious significance of water, this profound rumination on memory and loss bridges the gap between its mystical origins, Pinochet's coup d'état, and the secret of a mother-of-pearl button at the bottom of the sea.
15. Lessons of Darkness (1992)
Not Rated | 54 min | Documentary, War
This film shows the disaster of the Kuwaitian oil fields in flames, with few interviews and no explanatory narration. Hell itself is presented in such beautiful sights and music that one has to be fascinated by it.
16. Grizzly Man (2005)
R | 103 min | Documentary, Biography
Votes: 48,261 | Gross: $3.17M
19. Sherman's March (1985)
Not Rated | 157 min | Documentary, Biography, Comedy
Ross McElwee sets out to make a documentary about the lingering effects of General Sherman's march of destruction through the South during the Civil War, but is continually sidetracked by ... See full summary »
20. Joe Leahy's Neighbours (1989)
90 min | Documentary
The 2nd of a trilogy. The first, First Contact, is about the first white men to visit a particular valley in New Guinea, in the 1930s. Features a lot of original footage. The second two movies are about the half white-half native son of the leader of that expedition and his efforts to run a coffee plantation, while dealing with his immediate neighbours, his own people, still living the traditional way. Amazing "between two worlds" struggle, two worlds that can't really mix. (And everywhere, it's the white people world that destroys the native world.)
21. Black Harvest (1992)
Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary
Joe Leahy is the half-caste son of one of the first explorers of the Papua New Guinean interior. His relations with the local Ganiga tribe who work his coffee plantation on their land are ... See full summary »
23. Bus 174 (2002)
R | 122 min | Documentary, Crime
Documentary depicts what happened in Rio de Janeiro on June 12th 2000, when bus 174 was taken by an armed young man, threatening to shoot all the passengers. Transmitted live on all ... See full summary »
Votes: 7,497 | Gross: $0.22M
Understanding Brazil 101
24. Secrets of the Tribe (2010)
TV-14 | 110 min | Documentary
The field of anthropology goes under the magnifying glass in this fiery investigation of the seminal research on Yanomami Indians. In the 1960s and '70s, a steady stream of anthropologists ... See full summary »
Understanding Anthropologists 101
25. Citizenfour (2014)
R | 114 min | Documentary, Biography, Thriller
A documentarian and a reporter travel to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with Edward Snowden.
Votes: 47,907 | Gross: $2.80M
26. McLibel (2005)
Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary
McLibel is the story of two ordinary people who humiliated McDonald's in the biggest corporate PR disaster in history.
Votes: 2,022 | Gross: $0.00M
28. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (2003)
Unrated | 74 min | Documentary
In April 2002, an Irish film crew is making a documentary about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, when a coup from the opposition is made.
29. How to Start a Revolution (2011)
Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary, Biography, History
HOW TO START A REVOLUTION is the remarkable untold story of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Gene Sharp, the world's leading expert on non-violent revolution. This new film (from first time ... See full summary »
30. Merchants of Doubt (2014)
PG-13 | 96 min | Documentary
A documentary that looks at pundits-for-hire who present themselves as scientific authorities as they speak about topics like toxic chemicals, pharmaceuticals and climate change.
Votes: 3,334 | Gross: $0.19M
31. The Corporation (2003)
Not Rated | 145 min | Documentary, History
Documentary that looks at the concept of the corporation throughout recent history up to its present-day dominance.
Votes: 19,587 | Gross: $1.88M
32. The Yes Men (2003)
R | 83 min | Documentary, Comedy
Anti-corporate activists travel from conference to conference, impersonating member of the World Trade Organization.
Votes: 5,541 | Gross: $0.20M
33. The Yes Men Fix the World (2009)
87 min | Documentary, Comedy
Troublemaking duo Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, posing as their industrious alter-egos, expose the people profiting from Hurricane Katrina, the faces behind the environmental disaster in Bhopal, and other shocking events.
Votes: 5,079 | Gross: $0.19M
35. To Be and to Have (2002)
Not Rated | 104 min | Documentary, Family
A documentary portrait of a one-room school in rural France, where the students (ranging in age from 4 to 11) are educated by a single dedicated teacher.
Votes: 7,223 | Gross: $0.78M
Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime
A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son.
37. Man on Wire (2008)
PG-13 | 94 min | Documentary, Biography
A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century".
Votes: 49,287 | Gross: $2.96M
39. Intangible Asset No. 82 (2008)
Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, Music
The search for an enigmatic South Korean shaman, and the inspiration found on the journey, renews a jazz musician's faith in the power of music.
40. Between the Folds (2008)
G | 56 min | Documentary
Depicts a cast of fine artists and eccentric scientists (from MIT and NASA) who have devoted their lives to the unlikely medium of modern origami. Through their determination to reinterpret... See full summary »
41. Revolution OS (2001)
85 min | Documentary, Comedy
While Microsoft may be the biggest software company in the world, not every computer user is a fan of their products, or their way of doing business. While Microsoft's Windows became the ... See full summary »
Votes: 2,285 | Gross: $0.00M
Not Rated | 105 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime
The story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz, who took his own life at the age of 26.
Votes: 14,388 | Gross: $0.05M
47. Kumaré (2011)
Not Rated | 84 min | Documentary
A documentary about a man who impersonates a wise Indian Guru and builds a following in Arizona. At the height of his popularity, the Guru Kumaré must reveal his true identity to his disciples and unveil his greatest teaching of all.
Votes: 4,497 | Gross: $0.13M
This is fascinating, much better than it seems it's going to be, or could possibly be. An Indian-American guy (also the director of the movie!) sets up in the U.S. as Kumaré, a Hindu guru direct from India, with the help of 2 female assistants. He develops his doctrines and practices as he goes, all-too-aware of the ridiculousness of the world he has entered. He acquires a small band of devotees, whose lives he seems to actually make better, in many ways. He knows eventually he will have to reveal his true identity, that it's all been a lie...and yet when he does, it's a continuation of exactly his teachings. He's been telling them all along that he's not a guru, that he's a fake etc. His followers mostly don't feel betrayed, as he obviously cares a lot for them, and somehow he has become their actual guru. A beautiful story, which the director/Kumaré was obviously touched by, himself. Gee it's such a car crash moment when he 'comes out' as a fake. I think he set out to discover that there was nothing to gurus, but ended up discovering what a powerful thing and responsibility it is - by being one himself! (I've long been a fan of quite a few Hindu gurus myself - Vivekananda, Ramana Maharshi, the estadounidenses Ram Dass & Gangaji - and have gotten a lot from various New Age writers, so I'm sympathetic to both sides of the atheist/religion divide here.)
48. The Gleaners & I (2000)
Not Rated | 82 min | Documentary
Varda films and interviews gleaners in France in all forms, from those picking fields after the harvest to those scouring the dumpsters of Paris.
Votes: 4,999 | Gross: $0.15M