Non-Narrative Documentaries

by Dibyayan_Chakravorty | created - 29 Nov 2014 | updated - 07 Feb 2017 | Public

Which one is your favorite non-narrative documentary film among these?

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1. Anima Mundi (1991)

28 min | Documentary, Short

Image and music are intertwined in this third collaboration between director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass. The film was produced to celebrate the World Wildlife Fund's ... See full summary »

Director: Godfrey Reggio

Votes: 1,062

2. Baraka (1992)

Not Rated | 96 min | Documentary

A collection of expertly photographed scenes of human life and religion.

Director: Ron Fricke

Votes: 34,152 | Gross: $1.33M

3. Samsara (I) (2011)

PG-13 | 102 min | Documentary, Music

65 Metascore

Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders.

Director: Ron Fricke | Stars: Balinese Tari Legong Dancers, Ni Made Megahadi Pratiwi, Puti Sri Candra Dewi, Putu Dinda Pratika

Votes: 30,903 | Gross: $2.67M

4. Chronos (1985)

Not Rated | 43 min | Documentary, Short

Carefully picked scenes of nature and civilization are viewed at high speed using time-lapse cinematography in an effort to demonstrate the history of various regions.

Director: Ron Fricke

Votes: 3,028

5. Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, Music

72 Metascore

A collection of expertly photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity and the relationship between them.

Director: Godfrey Reggio | Stars: Marilyn Chambers, Lou Dobbs, Ted Koppel

Votes: 33,037 | Gross: $1.72M

6. Powaqqatsi (1988)

G | 99 min | Documentary, Music

An exploration of technologically developing nations and the effect the transition to Western-style modernization has had on them.

Director: Godfrey Reggio | Stars: Christie Brinkley, David Brinkley, Pope John Paul II, Dan Rather

Votes: 7,377 | Gross: $0.59M

7. Naqoyqatsi (2002)

PG | 89 min | Documentary, Music

59 Metascore

A visual montage portrait of our contemporary world dominated by globalized technology and violence.

Director: Godfrey Reggio | Stars: Belladonna, Marlon Brando, Elton John, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Votes: 5,125 | Gross: $0.13M

8. Totality (1999)

Documentary, Music

A unique look at total eclipses, capturing the experience within the scenery of a wide range of settings around the planet, from ancient ruins to city skylines. Totality is constantly ... See full summary »

Director: Billy Mallery

Votes: 31

9. Man with a Movie Camera (1929)

Not Rated | 68 min | Documentary, Music

A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention.

Director: Dziga Vertov | Star: Mikhail Kaufman

Votes: 20,619

10. Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927)

Not Rated | 65 min | Documentary

This movie shows us one day in Berlin, the rhythm of that time, starting at the earliest morning and ends in the deepest night.

Director: Walter Ruttmann | Star: Paul von Hindenburg

Votes: 3,628

11. Microcosmos (1996)

G | 80 min | Documentary

A documentary on insect life in meadows and ponds.

Directors: Claude Nuridsany, Marie Pérennou | Stars: Kristin Scott Thomas, Jacques Perrin

Votes: 10,395 | Gross: $1.57M

12. Winged Migration (2001)

G | 89 min | Documentary

82 Metascore

Documentary on the migratory patterns of birds, shot over the course of three years on all seven continents.

Directors: Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud, Michel Debats | Stars: Jacques Perrin, Philippe Labro

Votes: 11,276 | Gross: $10.76M

13. Dogora - Ouvrons les yeux (2004)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary

Director Patrice Leconte weaves an impressionistic, sensorial tapestry of existence in and around early 21st-century Cambodia. Journeying through the country's farmlands, factories, streets... See full summary »

Director: Patrice Leconte

Votes: 188

14. Atlantis (I) (1991)

TV-PG | 78 min | Documentary, Music

Atmospheric soundtrack follows this compilation of nature footage that focuses on the ocean and various life forms that live, mate and die in it.

Director: Luc Besson

Votes: 1,709 | Gross: $0.14M

15. Heild (2014)

70 min | Documentary

Iceland's first non-narrative full-feature film's focus is set on presenting Iceland in a way it has never been presented before, using various elements of high-end cinematography.

Director: Petur Kristjan Gudmundsson

Votes: 15

16. Sedae (2018)

87 min | Documentary

South Korea has undergone a massive political, economic, and social shift since it was liberated from Japan at end of World War II. It dealt with rediscovering its own identity while ... See full summary »

Director: Daniel Smukalla | Stars: Ingyeong Bae, Yeon Bae Byun, Daeryun Chang, Mina Chang

17. Rasa Yatra (2012)

Approved | 50 min | Documentary, History

"Some see this film as amazing, some describe Rasa Yatra as amazing and some hear about it as amazing, while others, even after watching it many times, do not understand it at all."

Director: Param Tomanec

Votes: 43

18. Into the Mind (2013)

Not Rated | 82 min | Documentary, Sport

This is a story of rising to the ultimate challenge. Having the courage to risk fatal expo- sure and the perseverance demanded on the quest for achievement. These are not solely physical feats, they are mental conquests.

Directors: Eric Crosland, Dave Mossop | Stars: Callum Pettit, Kye Petersen, J.P. Auclair, Xavier De Le Rue

Votes: 1,757

19. Visitors (2013)

Not Rated | 87 min | Documentary

62 Metascore

Director Godfrey Reggio reveals humanity's trance-like relationship with technology, which, when commandeered by extreme emotional states, produces massive effects far beyond the human species.

Director: Godfrey Reggio

Votes: 959 | Gross: $0.07M

20. Sweetgrass (2009)

Unrated | 101 min | Documentary, Adventure, Western

80 Metascore

In the summer of 2003, a group of shepherds took a herd of sheep one final time through the Beartooth Mountains of Montana, in the extreme north-west of the United States. It was a journey ... See full summary »

Directors: Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor

Votes: 833 | Gross: $0.21M

21. Epic Java (2013)

30 min | Documentary, Short

Epic Java is a visual of the universe and human culture. A searching process of the mysteries of life and everything related to it. A contemplative depiction that will take us into God ... See full summary »

Director: Febian Nurrahman Saktinegara

Votes: 208

22. Bodysong (2003)

83 min | Documentary

Simon Pummell's epic movie tells the story of a human life, using found footage from the last 100 years of cinema, cut to a powerful score by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead.

Director: Simon Pummell

Votes: 683

23. Earth from Above (2004)

Not Rated | 67 min | Documentary

Yann Arthus-Bertrand has flown over hundreds of countries to create an extraordinary aerial portrait of our planet as never seen before. This DVD from the Panoramica Motion Gallery is '... See full summary »

Director: Renaud Delourme | Stars: Bernard Giraudeau, Nils Hugon

Votes: 294

24. ¡Vivan las antípodas! (2011)

Not Rated | 108 min | Documentary

What would be the shortest route between Entre Rios in Argentina and the Chinese metropolis Shanghai? Simply a straight line through the center of the earth, since the two places are ... See full summary »

Director: Viktor Kosakovskiy

Votes: 588

26. Bestiaire (2012)

Not Rated | 72 min | Documentary

71 Metascore

Along the rhythm of the seasons, beasts and humans regard each other. 'Bestiary' unfolds like a picture book about mutual observation. A contemplation of a stable imbalance, and of loose, tranquil and indefinable elements.

Director: Denis Côté

Votes: 367 | Gross: $0.00M

27. Laya Project (2007)

Documentary

A musical, visual journey. Recorded and filmed on location, it resurrects ancient and forgotten folk music from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, India and Myanmar. The experience ... See full summary »

Director: Harold Monfils

Votes: 26

28. Coral Sea Dreaming (1999 Video)

82 min | Documentary

Explore the vibrant colors and alien-like creatures of the coral reef.

Director: David Hannan

Votes: 52

29. Highway World: Living, Changing, Growing (2008)

Not Rated | 81 min | Documentary

In this nonverbal documentary film the industrial footage as well as the musical style of sitar master Al Gromer Khan create the film's base for an immersion into the highway spheres.

Director: Martin H. Schmitt

Votes: 5

30. Robot World (2010)

61 min | Documentary, Music

The non-verbal documentary Robot World depicts the evolution of robots from a mechanical somnambulist to an autonomous sensorium.

Director: Martin H. Schmitt

31. Landscapes at the World's Ends (2010)

30 min | Documentary, Short, Adventure

A non-verbal visual journey to the polar regions of our planet portrayed through a triptych montage of photography and video. Landscapes at the World's Ends is a multi-dimensional canvas of... See full summary »

Director: Richard Sidey

Votes: 9

32. Silence Above the Clouds (2009)

65 min | Documentary

Up there, above the clouds, one can feel a mysterious alliance with the universe.

Director: Pavol Barabas

Votes: 11

33. Ruhr (2009)

121 min | Documentary

James Benning's worrying and also reassuring vision of the Ruhr Valley, shot in six fascinating takes of a tunnel, a forest, a factory, a mosque, graffiti and a chimney.

Director: James Benning

Votes: 141

34. El Valley Centro (1999)

90 min | Documentary

Employing natural sound and contemplative proscenium shots, Benning skillfully composes a series of pure and majestic images that at once evoke a sense of nostalgic splendor as well as ... See full summary »

Director: James Benning

Votes: 135

35. 13 Lakes (2004)

135 min | Documentary

Shots of 13 great lakes in the USA, with each shot containing half water and half sky or land.

Director: James Benning

Votes: 248



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