There are such a lot of documentaries on the market. Generally, it seems like too many. The quantity’s additionally ballooned additional within the 20-30 years, because of the emergence of comparatively reasonably priced recording tools that enables many individuals to seize no matter they select to. Contemplating that skilled motion pictures could be shot on cellphones, it stands to purpose that the instruments to doc individuals, locations, or occasions at the moment are within the fingers of extra individuals than ever earlier than.
All which means is that the overwhelming feeling you would possibly get when choosing a documentary to observe is not going away any time quickly. There’s a handful of nice, distinctive, and fairly unusual documentaries that you simply may not have seen earlier than. Undoubtedly, all are value a look ahead to any documentary aficionado. To maintain the theme of choosing lesser-known documentaries, all the next have been seen by 5000 viewers at most on the movie-focused social media app, Letterboxd, as of the time of writing.
‘Tokyo Olympiad’ (1965)
Famed Japanese director Kon Ichikawa was tasked to doc the 1964 Summer time Olympics in Tokyo. He did so in a completely daring and inventive means. The ensuing movie — clocking in at nearly three hours — captures the grace and fantastic thing about all of the Olympic occasions in a means that abnormal broadcasts on tv often fail to do.
Incredible digicam work, enhancing, and music make this partaking from the opening ceremony to the closing one and all through all of the sporting occasions coated in between. You do not even have to be an enormous fan of watching sports activities to understand this for the filmmaking alone, and it nonetheless stands because the gold normal for sport-related documentaries.
‘Land of Silence and Darkness’ (1971)
One of many earliest characteristic movies of the good German director Werner Herzog, Land of Silence and Darkness, is a glance into the lifetime of Fini Straubinger, a lady who lived most of her life being each deaf and blind. All through the movie, Herzog paperwork different people who additionally dwell with Straubinger’s situation and offers an perception into how life is for many who can neither hear nor see.
The result’s unhappy, shifting, and really engrossing. To observe it’s in all probability the closest most will come to understanding how such a situation would affect one’s life. However however, to see how they perform, talk, and discover happiness is inspiring in its personal means. Herzog handles the entire documentary completely, being respectful and by no means exploitative to the people he covers all through.
‘Arms on a Hardbody: The Documentary’ (1997)
Arms on a Hardbody has a easy, rock-solid premise. It covers an endurance problem the place individuals place one hand on a truck and are not allowed to sit down down, lean on the truck, or take their hand off. The final particular person left standing with their hand on the truck wins the truck. That is it.
Its simplicity makes it a satisfying watch, and the quirky contestants who viewers come to know all through add one other layer of leisure to the proceedings. It is fairly weird, however humorous at factors, and it even will get surprisingly suspenseful throughout the latter phases of the competitors. This can be a must-watch for anybody desirous about seeing a unusual group push their our bodies and minds to the bounds in a fair quirkier problem.
‘The Emperor’s Bare Military Marches On’ (1987)
The Emperor’s Bare Military Marches On is a tense and provocative Japanese documentary. It bears some similarities to 2012’s Oscar-nominated The Act of Killing, as each look again at and make clear horrible atrocities that a lot of the world appears to need to overlook about or ignore.
In The Emperor’s Bare Military Marches On, these atrocities have been dedicated within the remaining days of WW2, and ex-soldier Kenzo Okuzaki, the topic of the documentary, is proven going to excessive lengths to seek out out the reality about what occurred and decide who’s accountable. He is pushed equally by his need for private redemption and his hatred of authority, and he makes for a fascinatingly complicated central determine. It is a troublesome documentary that provides no simple solutions and discusses many troubling subjects, however it’s fascinating, distinctive, and an important movie.
‘Homicide on a Sunday Morning’ (2001)
A real-crime documentary that is actually nice — and could be watched with out carving out an entire afternoon — Homicide on a Sunday Morning covers the trial of a teenage boy in Florida who was accused of taking pictures and killing a 65-year-old girl in a botched armed theft.
It options tight enhancing, a powerfully informed story, a suspenseful remaining act, and a few unbelievable perception into the issues of the American justice system and the best way it could actually endanger harmless individuals. On the identical time, it is a considerably uncommon, constructive depiction of the occupation of protection attorneys, as public defenders — who argue for the boy’s innocence — Patrick McGuinness and Ann Finnell come throughout as fairly heroic, all issues thought-about.
‘Relics: Einstein’s Mind’ (1994)
Documentaries do not get far more oddball or obscure than this. It appears to solely exist on YouTube, and solely as a result of it appears like somebody recorded it off a Swedish TV station earlier than placing it on YouTube (so you must watch it with Swedish subtitles, mainly).
However fortunately, it hasn’t been misplaced to time as a result of it is a surreal, humorous, and distinctive little documentary. It follows a Japanese professor by the title of Kenji Sugimoto as he travels to america with one aim: to seek out (and hopefully research) the mind of Albert Einstein. His dedication may be very endearing, and a very good chunk of the movie is him going as much as random individuals and asking them in the event that they know the place Einstein’s mind is. It must be seen to be believed.
‘The Killing of America’ (1981)
The Killing of America is a surprising and hard-to-watch documentary about a few of the most impactful acts of violence dedicated within the USA all through the center of the twentieth century. Utilizing typically disturbing archive footage, it argues that Western civilization and its morals are in decline, so it isn’t precisely a cheery watch.
However it’s compelling, and the insights it supplies guarantee it would not simply really feel prefer it’s being surprising and provocative for the sake of it. A troublesome-to-watch documentary about robust, brutal occasions, it, sadly, stays related so long as violence exists.
‘Huge River Man’ (2009)
Huge River Man nearly seems like a documentary rendition of Apocalypse Now, besides there is not any warfare or homicide, the principle character swims as a substitute of being on a ship, and it is a lot funnier. It covers Martin Strel, an formidable, middle-aged man who loves a drink or ten, as he units out to swim throughout your entire Amazon River… all 3000+ miles of it.
It feels prefer it may very well be a mockumentary at occasions, however it’d nonetheless be nice even when that have been the case. It is humorous, offbeat, and even inspiring in its personal bizarre means. Deliberately or unintentionally, it seems like the very best Werner Herzog documentary that Werner Herzog by no means made.
‘Dying at Grace’ (2003)
Dying at Grace is simply in regards to the hardest to observe documentary on the market: the truth that it isn’t as well-known is not stunning. In 2.5 hours, it depicts the previous few months of life of 5 sufferers at a hospital in Toronto, all the best way up till they breathe their final breaths.
It is confronting and troubling to observe, particularly as a result of it is all so inevitable. For these nonetheless alive who’re courageous sufficient to observe it, it’s possible you’ll end up appreciating the life you reside greater than earlier than. However to get there, you must confront the grim certainty of life-ending all through this movie, and a few of the sights and sounds inside are unattainable to overlook. It is a brutally sincere double-edged sword of a documentary.
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