Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Favorite documentaries

Online at The New Yorker, the film critic Richard Brody’s list of “The Best Documentaries of All Time.” I’ve seen just three of ten. Reading Brody’s list prompted me to write my own, a list not of what’s best or greatest but of ten documentaries I could watch again and again:

Jazz on a Summer’s Day, dir. Bert Stern, 1959
Crumb, dir. Terry Zwigoff, 1994
Être et avoir, dir. Nicolas Philibert, 2002
The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of
    Robert S. McNamara
, dir. Errol Morris, 2003
Helvetica, dir. Gary Hustwit, 2007
The Art of the Steal, dir. Don Argott, 2009
How’s Your News?, dir. Arthur Bradford, 2009
Bill Cunningham New York, dir. Richard Press, 2010
Cave of Forgotten Dreams, dir. Werner Herzog, 2010
Jiro Dreams of Sushi, dir. David Gelb, 2011
What’s missing? (Especially between 1959 and 1994.)

[“All time”: I’m surprised to see that phrase in New Yorker environs.]

comments: 7

Marzek said...

I'd give a shout-out to Frederick Wiseman's BALLET. There's something very pure about it -- it literally 'documents' the day-to-day of a ballet company; no voice-overs, imposed narrative, or talking heads. Just the work behind the scenes.

Geo-B said...

Don’t Look Back 1967 Pennebaker
Stop Making Sense, Demme 1984
Winged Migration, Perin 2001
Burden of Dreams, Blank 1982
Control Room, Noujaim 2004
The War Room , Pennebaker 1993

(a couple of recent ones)

Fresca said...

"Trekkies"? 1997 doc by Roger Nygard.
Not sure how interesting it is to non-fans, but I think it might be very...

Frank said...

Standing in the Shadows of Motown
Anvil! The Story of Anvil
The Pursuit of Excellence: Ferrets
Style Wars
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Beyond the Mat
The Universe of Keith Haring
Genghis Blues
Devil's Playground
Hell House
The Cockettes

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, everyone, for sharing favorite titles here.

Frank said...

you're welcome! based on your list I feel pretty strongly that you'll appreciate many of mine. Have you seen and disliked any of them?

Michael Leddy said...

Frank, I've seen all but four of your picks and liked them all. I hope those four are in my library or at Netflix. The one about ferrets is new to me. From the clips on YouTube, it looks like life imitating a Christopher Guest movie.