The one film that sticks with me more than any other doc I've ever seen is CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS.
In reply to Nick Higgins's post on Wed 16 Mar 2011 :
I second COUNTDOWN TO ZERO, screen it as a double feature with INTO ETERNITY for a completely relevant and mind blowing evening.
An earlier environmental disaster in Japan: Minamata, The Victims of Their World
Another aftermath of a catastrophic event: Iraq in Fragments by James Longley. One man with a video camera: children & war
And just for inspiration: Perlov Diary by David Perlov. Filmmaker's first shot: out the window. Start with your own backyard.
BARAKA; The holy grail of documentary cinematography imho
American Movie is possibly my all time funniest doc choice ever, about obsessive moviemaking.
Closely followed by the gem, Exit Through the Gift Shop, also about obsessive movie making, in a strange sort of way...
And just to round out a trio of great films about obsessive movie making, don't forget Lost in La Mancha.
Streetwise: My absolute favorite and the one that helped me understand that a documentary was different than a fiction film.