Thursday, June 23, 2016

Best of 2016... so far (#1): Documentaries

We have almost reached the half point of 2016 (CRAZY, right?) and I thought I would do a few lists about some of my favorite things from 2016 so far.

I have watched a fair amount of documentaries during the first six months of 2016 and I figured it would be interesting to share some of them here. There are so many documentaries out there, and I always have a hard time deciding what to watch, so I hope that maybe people with a similar problem could find some recommendations from here.

As a film lover, I found The Wolfpack to be extreme interesting. This documentary directed by Crystal Moselle focuses on a set of brothers who have lived most of their lives locked away from the society. When other children played outside, they watched films and recreated scenes from their favorites with video cameras. When one of the brothers decides to enter the outside world, everything changes.

The Wolfpack is an immensely interesting study about families, brotherhood and about the impact films have on people. If you are a film fan like me, or if you like stories about families, you should check this one out!

This documentary classic by Jennie Livingston is one I had seen before years ago but ended up rewatching for my postcolonial theory class earlier this spring. Paris is Burning was filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s and it focuses on the New York ball room scene and the generally poor gay and transgender community involved in it.

If you are interested in queer representation and the queer community, you definitely should check out this classic!

Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man is the tale of Timothy Treadwell who spent the last years of his adult life living among the grizzlies in Alaska wilderness. What makes Treadwell's tale tragic is the fact that he ended up dying among the bears (he was killed by a grizzly - don't worry though, none of this is shown in the documentary or anything). The documentary is built using Treadwell's own videos of the grizzlies, and though nature documentaries are not usually my thing, I found this one to be extremely interesting, mostly due to Herzog's approach of representing it as a study of Treadwell and his character.

If you end up watching this one and become interested about Treadwell's relationship with the bears, I have an interesting article to share with you (we watched this as a part of my queer mediation class where this film was used as an example of media product that queers the relationship between human and animal).

Frida and Lars Barkfors's documentary Pervert Park is focused on the lives of convicted sex offenders at Florida Justice Transitions which is a trailer park more often known was "Pervert Park". The documentary gives voice to the residents of the park - some have simple misdemeanors on their record while some have done some pretty horrible things (they are all criminals and they all are aware of that - if you are afraid of seeing criminals trying to deny their crimes, don't worry, this one does not have that). I think it was interesting to hear these people talk and see a side to them that might not often be seen in media etc. Not the easiest thing to watch out there, but one that I deem extremely important.

Making a Murderer is probably one a lot of you have already watched! If you have time for a lengthier documentary series, look no further because Making a Murderer is extremely engaging and interesting. It also made me question the American juridical system as well as the clear class division that becomes evident here. If you liked Serial or The Jinx, I promise you will like this one too!

I was glad to notice while doing this list that every other documentary except The Grizzly Man was at least partly made by female filmmakers! Hopefully a similar trend will be visible from my favorite films list that will be posted in a couple of days. 

Are you a fan of documentaries? Are the any docs you would like to recommend to me? 


  1. I LOVE watching documentaries. Most of the time that's what I do on Netflix. My favorite ones recently have been: A Ballerina's Tale, Finding Vivan Maier, and Jiro Dreams of Sushi. If you're into documentary series, Chef's Table which is a Netflix original is really interesting as well!

    1. According to that list you seem to have quite a different taste in documentaries than I do, but I will check out few of those :)
      Thanks for stopping by Alexa!


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