Documentaries: a window to the world

I recently added documentaries to the tv series category. I have always loved documentaries because I always had an interest in history. Documentaries provide a way for everyone to see certain events and hear from those that know about the subject or were even there. Future documentaries that I see will get a separate blog post, but I wanted to look back at some of the documentaries I have seen from music to historical events and biographies. It is not a list counting down witch one is the best, it is just a brief look at some documentaries I have seen. 

  1. Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust.

Directed by Daniel Anker and narrated by Gene Hackman. Holocaust is one of the worst events in human history. This documentary is not a look at the Holocaust and the war itself. it is a look at how the movies have portrayed the Holocaust on film. I found it interesting because it covers the movies made when it was going on and movies made when it was over. We can see how with the passage of time; the movies showed a more honest look at the events. I found the documentary really interesting in showing the movies approach on telling this story over the years. Included in the documentary are films like The Great Dictator, Sophie’s Choice and Schindler’s List among other films.

  • Hiroshima 

This was directed for the BBC by Paul Wilmshurst and narrated by John Hurt. This is a sad look at the nuclear attack and the effects it had on the people for many years after the bomb was dropped. This for me is the worst action taken by a country against another. I don’t want to go into politics, but this killed 129,000 to 226,000 people that were mostly civilians (Wikipedia, 2019). 

  • Robert Kennedy for president (Netflix)

Directed by Dawn Porter for Netflix, it was more of a documentary divided into four parts. I never go into these documentaries interested in the political aspect, I focus more on the man. He fought for the rights of many people and based on the documentary he was trying to do right for his country, now that does not mean he might have done things bad or whatever, that I don’t know. But it showed a lot of who he was and what he represented and the tragedy that just like his brother John got assassinated in a time in the US where this was a fate for powerful leaders. 

  • Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst (2004)

Directed by Robert Stone. This is a crazy story and it was really shocking to see. Patty Hearst was the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst who was the owner of a large newspaper. It is really sad and one of those things we might never really know. We get to see and hear tapes from the kidnapping and how she slowly converted from a victim to part of the terrorist organization. Some think it was just a syndrome of spending too much time captured others felt she participated willingly on the crimes. I really can’t make up my mind but the images and the things shown in the documentary are really interesting. 

  • Waco: Rules of Engagement

This is another example of the danger of cult organizations where people follow talented people that are able to convince other that they have divine authority. This is one of those cases, David Koresh became Branch Davidian church, he kept his followers living with together and had really crazy rules, but still people followed him. Based on news articles expressing that Koresh was sexually abusing children and the suspicion that they were storing weapons, the FBI went for a raid in their ranch and then it began a 51-day standoff between the authorities and Koresh, ending tragically with the death of Koresh and his followers. 

  • Blackfish (2013)

This is really an interesting look at parks like Sea world. I have to say it is a little one-sided but that is because the people from Sea World declined to participate in the documentary, so many of the people interviewed were people who worked there who now were against what they were doing with the killer whales. The main theme in the documentary is the effect that captivity has on these whales and focusing on the whale named Tilikum and the incidents he has been involved in. There are many shocking moments in the film, ranging from how they extract semen from the whale to procreate to some filmed footage of whale attacks on parks. One is captured in great detail and shows how the whale kept going to the surface and kept dragging him down, I admire the calmness of the trainer in that situation. The film focuses on three incidents and how even knowing of the danger they just kept putting trainers with the whales. I can’t say everything shown here is fact or free from distortion by the agenda of the director and those involved in the documentary, nonetheless it is a fascinating look at these animals and there has to be an effect on being captive when they are meant to live on an open ocean. 

  • The shark is still working (2012)

Directed by Erik Hollander. This is a documentary on the impact the film Jaws had on popular culture. It is a defining movie and not only for Spielberg but for the industry. I am a huge fan of these movies although none of the sequels are at the same standard as the first one, I just remember watching the Jaws marathons on TV. This was an interesting documentary and did provide an interesting look at the films. 

  • The Beatles Anthology (1996) 

I have to include this 8-part documentary on The Beatles. I am a huge fan and because I was not born in the 60’s, his documentary allowed me to see footage of the band that I had never seen, and at that time YouTube was not out there like now. It is an in-depth look at how they became the biggest band ever and it includes a lot of music footage from live performances, interviews and even the music videos they made that I had never seen before. There are a lot of documentaries about them but this is the only one that I think features The Beatles themselves telling their story. 

  • The Crystal Lake memories and Never sleep again

I already reviewed them on my page so head to these links and read my thought on them.

I am sure there are many more that I have seen that were either interesting or really shocking. And I am not saying these are the most relevant or the best ones, these are films I remembered liking and wanted to share them. Some I can mention are: Bowling for Columbine, Capitalism: a love story, Valkyrie: the plot to kill Hitler, Conversations with a killer: The Ted Bundy tapes. I look forward to taking about documentaries in the future.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s