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Recommended Documentaries

This is a topic where you can say which documentary has really impressed you, and why people should see it. Can be a recent one or an all-time favourite. Can't be your own though, sorry...

We also have a Documentary Films topic for our Professionals where the debate is private and possibly more controversial. This topic here is for recommendations to the documentary-interested public.

This topic is for praising the work of others, not your own. If you want to beat the drum for your own documentary, please don't do it here. Enthusiasts use our Public Classifieds, and Professionals have their own Shameless Self-Promotion topic.

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David Herman
Sun 20 Mar 2011Link

Humbly stand corrected.

Mascha Poppenk-Bouwens
Mon 21 Mar 2011Link

Ben & Doug,

Don't know how to delete the post... sorry!


Doug Block
Mon 21 Mar 2011Link

We'll let it slide this one time, Mascha. Mostly to serve as an example to others ;-) Don't let this keep you from participating, though. What other doc do you recommend, particularly one from the Netherlands?

Edited Mon 21 Mar 2011 by Doug Block

Mascha Poppenk-Bouwens
Tue 22 Mar 2011Link

A Blooming Business ( and California Dreaming ( come to mind but how does that differ from telling people about your own independent documentary?

Mascha Poppenk-Bouwens
Tue 22 Mar 2011Link

Floored (, My name is Smith ( by James Smith and all the films by Ashley Sabin and David Redmond at ( so...?!

Doug Block
Tue 22 Mar 2011Link

It's a far different thing recommending someone else's doc that you admired than to recommend your own. Whether yours is a good film or not, it then becomes an act of self-promotion.

Ben Kempas
Wed 23 Mar 2011Link

Guys, we'll soon open a public topic dedicated to self-promotion.

For now, let's remember Richard Leacock who died in Paris today, aged 89. And let's recommend his films as well as the campaign to have his memoir published.

Ben Kempas
Wed 23 Mar 2011Link

Leacock's lessons...

Edited Wed 23 Mar 2011 by Ben Kempas

James Longley
Thu 24 Mar 2011Link

Jazz Dance. Just pure perfection.

Stephanie Vevers
Fri 25 Mar 2011Link

In reply to Erica Ginsberg's post on Sun 20 Mar 2011 :

Heddy Honigman website:

Maybe not her newer films but at least 3 other Heddy Honigmann films now available on Netflix: Dutch Junkies (2007), Forever (2006) and O Amor Natural (1996)
and as a DVD boxed set also:

Her facebook page: .

Meanwhile Icarus Films has 2 competing facebook pages for her, from their own angle.

Edited Fri 25 Mar 2011 by Stephanie Vevers

Pliers Sanderson
Sat 26 Mar 2011Link

I loved Pawel Pawlikowski's films Serbian Epics and Tripping with Zironophsky, shame that he only does fiction now. Here is a timecoded clip from a scene of Serbian Epics when Radovan Karadzic sees his mother

Edited Tue 29 Mar 2011 by John Burgan

Suree Towfighnia
Mon 28 Mar 2011Link

Straight, No Chaser. A beautiful Thelonuis Monk story with mostly "found" footage and Charlotte Zwerin as an editor. It's a true testament to the power of the edit to create something from discovered footage years later. Aside, from that, it's awesome to see inside the genius. Same with Charles Mingus, 1968...follows him through his eviction from his apartment/studio. Found it on vimeo

Edited Tue 29 Mar 2011 by John Burgan

John Burgan
Tue 29 Mar 2011Link

In reply to Ben Kempas's post on Wed 23 Mar 2011 :

Leacock's obituary and also a piece by filmmaker/scholar Brian Winston

Show hidden content

Tim VandeSteeg
Tue 29 Mar 2011Link

There are so many... FACING ALI & also love the ESPN Series 30 in 30, a collection of sport documentaries.

Docs Rock!

John Burgan
Tue 29 Mar 2011Link

Here's a link to the ESPN series Tim (those of us outside the US won't necessarily know ESPN)

Nadia Awad
Wed 30 Mar 2011Link

I have NOT seen this doc, but am so blown away by the scene select and the process that I thought I would share. This is The Arbor by Clio Barnard. She created the film out of audio interviews which actors then lip-synched to, verbatim, while acting. It is supposed to screen in NYC sometime this month and am definitely going.

Edited Wed 30 Mar 2011 by Nadia Awad

Doug Block
Wed 30 Mar 2011Link

Agree, Nadia. Looks fascinating.

Alessandro Gallo
Thu 31 Mar 2011Link

I loved
for cinematography and characters.

Jason Perdue
Fri 1 Apr 2011Link

I was just about to post about The Arbor in Doc Films. It's playing at SF Int'l later this month. Can't wait to see it.

And thanks for the recommend on Kinshasa Symphony as it's playing close by next weekend and I wasn't planning to see it.

Edited Fri 1 Apr 2011 by Jason Perdue

Papagena Robbins
Sat 2 Apr 2011Link

I recently saw Brian Winston speak in support of a (very expensive) documentary on Robert Flaherty, ‘A Boatload of Wild Irishmen,’ for which he wrote the script. There is a little interview with Leacock in the film where he talks about working as Flaherty's cameraman on "Louisiana Story." Leacock's career was a truly expansive one.

Here's a link to Leacock's recollection of this experience of working with Flaherty from his website:


Jason Perdue
Sat 2 Apr 2011Link

Hi Poppy. Glad to see you here.

Ellen Brodsky
Sun 3 Apr 2011Link

In reply to Alessandro Gallo's post on Thu 31 Mar 2011 : Thanks for letting me know about the Kinshasa Film. I lived in the Congo for 2 yrs (85-87) and have just now put my name on the waiting list for the DVD. It looks incredible.

John Frisbie
Tue 5 Apr 2011Link

Brett Morgan did one of the ESPN 30 On 30 pieces about the historic day in sports in which OJ was chased through LA, the NBA Finals were taking place and Arnold Palmer was playing his last round of golf. Good storytelling and he only used available footage. Also, just watched 'Weather Underground' – couldn't believe how well-paced it was. A few holes, but it moves so well.

Charlotte Lagarde
Sun 10 Apr 2011Link

In reply to Suree Towfighnia's post on Mon 28 Mar 2011 :

One of my favorite music doc for sure!

Charlotte Lagarde
Sun 10 Apr 2011Link

In reply to Nadia Awad's post on Wed 30 Mar 2011 :
The Arbor is incredible. I saw it at MOMA, very intimate.It will open at Film Forum in NY 4/27

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