I watch a lot of cinematic movies. But movies nowadays are really easy to watch and predictable. I sometimes binge-watch past summer blockbusters while cooking, ironing or doing any other chores. Documentaries often brings the welcomed change, when I just had enough of big screen cinema. Growing up, I only got to watch the National Geographic and Animal Planet shows, but when I finally got the internet and could decide more or else myself what I want to watch or not, I suddenly discovered this amazing world, that is appreciated far to less. So here are 5 documentaries that really changed my view and might get you started to watch more of this fantastic genre of motion pictures.
If you know me, you probably have already guessed that this will be my number one suggestion. Despite being an incredibly lo budget production, this is one of my favourite documentaries of all time. Not only is the composition fantastic and a feast for your eyes, but the soundtrack selection is one of the best out there. More importantly the story is very grounding. It does not only give you an insight of the best sushi place in the world, but also a very good idea of the Japanese culture on the way. Often when I feel insecure and seem to have lost track of things, I come back and revisit this great piece of work. I believe that Jiro can truly inspire anyone - one way or another. I might have watched this one ten times by now.
The poster already speaks for itself. I wasn't really sure, what I was getting into at first. To be honest, the front cover makes it look like a British B production, but I turned out to be a real gem. If you think documentaries are slow and boring and nothing really happens - watch this. It should also prepare you for my next pick.
If you are not into the Japanese culture, like my grandparents, Man on Wire is another holy grail of modern documentaries. From the same producer as The Imposter, this is the story of a man with a vision and accomplishing his incredible goal. If you are searching for inspiration, to just start something and also finishing it - this is it guys! Have fun!
If you are into music, I think I don't have to write anything more to make you intrigued in this production. It is directed by effing Dave Grohl! Yes, that's right kids! The drummer of that small band called Nirvana. Artists like Stevie Nicks, Paul McCartney, John Forgerty, Mick Fleetwood, Lars Urlich and and and... make their appearances. There is truly something for anybody. If you like any kind of music you will not regret this. Even if you don't like to listen to music - you will at the end of this documentary.
My last pick is somewhat different to the prior 4 picks, as this is a series. The link above brings you to the book with the same title. Eddie Huang and his family moved to America when he was about 3-4. In the book he tells the story about being a fob in America and how he founded his very successful restaurant in New York, inspired by his Asian roots. The series takes him around the world and let him experience the food and culture from his very unique point of view, which I can somewhat relate to. Sadly Vice has moved him to Munchies, where Season 3 will be produced under the name Huang's World. Since Fresh off the Boat will become a ABC T.V. Series, Season 1 and 2 of the Vice production has been taken down. But what was once on the internet will always be on the internet. I believe that you, my readers, are clever enough to set sail and find it somewhere (get it? Set sail? arrrgh!).
What is special about documentaries are that the stories are real, the people are real. Of course it is sugar coated sometimes and from a single or few points of views, but it's still a fresh breeze compared to cinematic fictions. Documentaries allows me to understand the world better and most often or not better than reading about it, as I can see the reactions of people, their facial expressions, how, where, when they talk. Without travelling around the world, I can have a short insight of a sushi chefs live in Tokyo in the morning and following a motorcyclist around the world in the afternoon. There are soo many documentaries out there, because everybody has a story to tell. Barely scratched the surface? No, I haven't even touched it yet! But I hope this will get you started!