I’ve always had an interest in documentary films. They’re an excellent way to educate yourself in a short period of time on a subject of your choosing. I’ve found that doc films can make you laugh or cry but almost give you something to think about as you walk away. I’ve watched many in the last two years or so but these were the best in my opinion.
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child - I’ve posted on this blog before about the artist Jean Michel Basquiat. I loved this movie because it’s gives an excellent synopsis of the extreme rise and fall of the young 80’s Neo-Surrealist though very raw footage of the artist, New York City, and LA. (Trailer)
Inside Job - Winner of the Academy Award for best doc this year, Inside Job was able to achieve the impossible and partially clarify the complication of the global economic crisis for me. I thought the interviews with leading journalists, key financial players, and top academics really shed light on the various factors that are to blame for what has happened to this country and the world. (Trailer)
Valentino: The Last Emperor - This movie has been out for a couple years and it’s just so wonderful. It documents the last season Valentino was involved in the creation of his couture line, his 70th birthday celebration, and takes a look back at a life filled with clothes and opulence. I loved that he is constantly followed by his long-time business partner and partner in life Giancarlo Giommeti and a gaggle of pugs. (Trailer)
Bill Cunningham, New York - This movie is currently out in theaters and is another great homage to fashion and photography. Bill Cunningham, the long-time photographer for The New York Times, comes off as a the sweetest aficionado with a discerning eye only for clothes rather than for the people wearing them. (Trailer)
The Cove - While I don’t recommend this movie for the faint of heart, if you are at all stressed about the state of the oceans and the amazing plethora of creatures that live within them than you should watch this movie. A team of scientists and filmmakers illegally obtained footage of a cove in Japan in which thousands of dolphins are captured and either slaughtered for the sale of their meat or sold around the world to various theme parks for exploitation. It really was hard to watch but important nonetheless. (Trailer)
Exit Through the Gift Shop - This was another doc that was nominated for the Academy Award this year. Thierry Guetta, later to be known at Mr. Brainwash, began to chronicle on film the underground life of street art and artists. However, after taking up with the likes of Banksy (maybe the most famous and reclusive of all street artsits), Thierry decided to go into the trade himself. I also loved the aspect of how easy it can be to exploit the nature of the contemporary art market. (Trailer)
180° South - Visually speaking, this movie takes the cake. 180 Degrees South is a Patagonia sponsored film about adventureer Jeff Johnson’s attempt to retrace a former activists journey to South America. While the movie is about travel, exploration, climbing, surfing, and more, it has a great environmental message that speaks volumes on returning to the simpler ways of of life. I also thought the soundtrack was incredible. (Trailer)