Video: list of interesting documentaries
On this page I'll collect various documentaries that I've watched and inspired me in one way or another.
Crime, investigation & court cases
Into the Abyss - Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people - and the state - kill.
Making a Murderer - Filmed over a 10-year period, Steven Avery, a DNA exoneree who, while in the midst of exposing corruption in local law enforcement, finds himself the prime suspect in a grisly new crime. Viewers are taken inside a high-stakes criminal case where reputation is everything and things are never as they appear.
Paradise Lost - A 3 part documentary about a horrific triple child murder that leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence.
The Imposter - A documentary centered on a young man in Spain who claims to a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who has been missing for 3 years.
The Thin Blue Line - A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas.
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst - Filmmaker Andrew Jarecki examines the complicated life of reclusive real estate icon, Robert Durst, the key suspect in a series of unsolved crimes.
The Staircase - A gripping courtroom thriller, offering a rare and revealing inside look at a high-profile murder trial. In 2001, author Michael Peterson was arraigned for the murder of his wife Kathleen, whose body was discovered lying in a pool of blood on the stairway of their home. Granted unusual access to Peterson's lawyers, home and immediate family, de Lestrade's cameras capture the defense team as it considers its strategic options. "The staircase" is an engrossing look at contemporary American justice that features more twists than a legal bestseller.
Party Monster - Documentary film exploring the rise of Club Kid legend Michael Alig and his fall in 1996 when he murdered his drug dealer/roommate Angel Melendez.
Begin Japanology - Join on a fascinating exploration of Japan, a country brimming with culture and history, as we immerse ourselves into a plethora of diverse topics and aspects of both traditional and contemporary Japan.
Japan: A Story of Love and Hate - Naoki once had it all - the fast car, the executive home. Boss of his own business he lived the good-life when Japan's economy was at it's height. Then the bubble burst - and he met Yoshie.
A State of Mind - A British documentary that follows two young North Korean girls as they prepare for the Mass Games, the world's largest choreographed gymnastics performance.
Crossing the Line - A British documentary about US Army defector James Dresnok currently living in North Korea after having defected during the 60s.
Propaganda - An anti-western propaganda film about the influences of American visual and consumption culture on the rest of the world, as told from a North Korean perspective.
Politics & Geo-politics
HyperNormalisation - Adam Curtis explains how, at a time of confusing and inexplicable world events, politicians and the people they represent have retreated in to a damaging over-simplified version of what is happening.
Inside Assad's Syria - Join correspondent Martin Smith in Syria as he reports from government-controlled areas while the war rages. With on-the-ground reporting and firsthand accounts from Syrians caught in the crisis, the film shines new light on the ongoing conflict.
Russian Roulette - The Invasion of Ukraine - Russia has invaded the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine and taken over its civilian and military infrastructure. VICE News is on the ground covering the conflict as it unfolds.
Spin - Pirated satellite feeds revealing U.S. media personalities' contemptuous plans for their viewers come full circle in Spin. TV out-takes appropriated from network satellite feeds unravel the tightly spun fabric of television, a system which silences public debates and furthers the intolerance of anyone outside the pack of journalists, politicians, spin doctors and televangelists who manufacture the news.
The Century of the Self - A documentary about the rise of psychoanalysis as a powerful means of persuasion for both governments and corporations.
The Death of Yugoslavia - The Death of Yugoslavia is a survey of the pressures and events that contributed to the break-up of former Yugoslavia, considered from a historical rather than a political or sociological point of view.
The Fall of Milosevic - The producers of The Death of Yugoslavia - the series that won 16 major awards in 1996 - return with this gripping and definitive documentary series. It charts Milosevic's fall from the height of his power in 1995, when he was feted by world leaders as the only hope for peace in the Balkans, to his trial in the Hague for war crimes and genocide.
The Net - The Net explores the complex back-story of Ted Kaczynski, dubbed by the CIA as the "Unabomber". An inquiry into the rationale of this notable figure situates him within a late 20th Century web of technology - a system that he grew to oppose. Incorporating a subversive approach to the history of the Internet, the documentary combines speculative travelogue and investigative journalism to trace contrasting counter cultural responses to the cybernetic revolution.
The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear - A series of three documentaries about the use of fear for political gain.
The Red Pill - The Red Pill chronicles filmmaker Cassie Jaye's journey following the mysterious and polarizing Men's Rights Movement. The Red Pill explores today's gender war and asks the question "what is the future of gender equality?"
The World at War - A 26-episode documentary series that gives a historical account of the events of World War II.
Travel, survival & culture
Amazing Marriage Customs - Beautiful Documentary from China. Unspoilt and pure marriage customs from a place untouched.
Alone in the Wilderness - Documentary tells the story of Dick Proenneke who, in the late 1960s, built his own cabin in the wilderness at the base of the Aleutian Peninsula, in what is now Lake Clark National Park. Using color footage he shot himself, Proenneke traces how he came to this remote area, selected a homestead site and built his log cabin completely by himself.
An Idiot Abroad - Brit Karl Pilkington has led a sheltered life. Not having done any traveling, he enjoys living within the comforts of what he knows, basically that being what is purely British. As such, his friends, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, decide to send Karl to various parts of the world to experience unfamiliar cultures. Stephen believes that travel is a life broadening venture, and hopes that Karl will indeed feel like his life is enriched by these travels. Ricky, however, hopes that Karl will hate every minute of his travels.
Cobra Gypsies - Cobra Gypsies offers a contemporary and colorful window to the amazing ancient culture of the nomadic Kalbeliya tribes, living in rural Rajasthan, Northern India.
Empire of Dust - Two men from different cultures clash in the dirt of the former Belgian colony, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Grizzly Man - A devastating and heartrending take on grizzly bear activists Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard, who were killed in October of 2003 while living among grizzlies in Alaska.
Koyaanisqatsi - A collection of expertly photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity and the relationship between them.
Long Way Round - This documentary series follows actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on a motorcycle trip around the world. The two friends will travel through such places as Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Alaska, before finally ending the journey in New York.
Lift - Director Marc Isaacs install himself in the lift of a typical english tower. People start talking to him and we discover their lives.
Meet the Stans - Simon Reeve visits republics of the former Soviet Union.
On the Trail of Genghis Khan - In June 2004 Tim set off on an epic journey, 10,000km from Mongolia to Hungary by Horse - a journey that eventually took him more than three years and led him on a deep journey into the fabric of nomad society on the Eurasian steppe.
Paris Is Burning - A chronicle of New York's drag scene in the 1980s, focusing on balls, voguing and the ambitions and dreams of those who gave the era its warmth and vitality.
Places That Don't Exist - Reeve visits a number of small breakaway states and unrecognised nations including Somaliland, recognised as part of Somalia, Transnistria, recognized as part of Moldova where Reeve was detained for 'spying' by the FSB, Nagorno-Karabakh, part of Azerbaijan. Reeve also visited Adjara, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia, all recognized by the United Kingdom as parts of Georgia.
Samsara - 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.
The Smash Brothers - A brief history of a subculture dedicated to competitively playing the video game "Super Smash Bros. Melee".
Why Beauty Matters - Contemporary philosopher Roger Scruton presents a fascinating argument for the importance of beauty in our art and in our lives, and explores what truly is and is not beautiful, regardless of its beholder.
Kumaré - 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.
Man on Wire - 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.".
Marwencol - After a vicious attacks leaves him brain-damaged and broke, Mark Hogancamp seeks recovery in "Marwencol", a 1/6th scale World War II-era town he creates in his backyard.
Oil Across Arabia - A documentary from 1950 detailing the early development of Saudi Arabia's oil industry, which eventually emerged as a global oil powerhouse.
Status Anxiety - Status Anxiety discusses the desire of people in many modern societies to "climb the social ladder" and the anxieties that result from a focus on how one is perceived by others. De Botton claims that chronic anxiety about status is an inevitable side effect of any democratic, ostensibly egalitarian society.
The Light Bulb Conspiracy - This is the story of companies who engineered their products to fail.
The Pruitt-Igoe Myth - Filmmaker Chad Freidrichs examines the development and failure of a 1950s housing estate in St. Louis.