There is nothing more my fiance @opdrawing and I enjoy more than sitting down to enjoy a documentary and then discussing it at length over a few drinks afterwards. So I put together a selection of our favourites, although this blog post will have to be split into multiple parts as there are SO many great documentaries out there. I tried to include a few obscure ones as well as some old classics.
One of the most famous documentaries on my list is Dear Zachary. This film was made by Kurt Kuenne, after his close friend Andrew Bagby is murdered by his ex lover Shirley Jane Turner after Bagby ended their tumultuous relationship. Shortly after she was arrested, Turner announced she was pregnant with Bagby's child, a boy she named Zachary. Kuenne set about making a film to paint a picture for Zachary of the father he will never get to meet - through a series of interviews with Bagby's friends and relatives. However, as events unfold, the film becomes more of a true crime documentary.
This is a film about the life and mysterious disappearance of one of my absolute favourite artists - Bas Jan Ader. In 1975, the Dutch / Californian artist took to sea in 'the ocean wave', the smallest boat ever to cross the Atlantic. 9 months later his boat was found half submerged off the coast of Ireland, Ader had vanished. This film explores the many unanswered questions surrounding his disappearance - was it an accident? Had he always intended to disappear? Was he really lost at sea? The film delves into his artistic practice, his life leading up to his disappearance and features interviews with the people closest to him as well as artists influenced by his work. A must watch if you loved The Artist is Present : Marina Abramovic.
This film cemented true crime as a credible genre of film long before Making a Murderer was created. Using archival footage, interviews and reenactments, The Thin Blue Line successfully argues the case of Randall Adams, a man arrested for the 1976 murder of a Dallas Police Officer and highlights the corrupt justice system that wrongly sentenced him to death. The film is brilliantly directed by Errol Morris (whom I'm a big fan of) with an accompanying film score by Phillip Glass which fits perfectly.
Kurt Cobain : Montage of Heck (2015)
I was already a pretty big fan of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana but this film really took my appreciation to another level. This film chooses to avoid the topic of Cobain's infamous death but instead focuses on Cobain's early years and his rise to fame through previously unheard recordings, drawings, home movies and animations. I don't necessarily think you need to be a fan to enjoy this film but of course it helps!
Hands on a Hardbody (1997)
Hands on a Hardbody is one of the weirder suggestions on my list but is also one of the most enjoyable! Directed by S. R. Bindler, it documents an endurance competition that took place in 1995 in Texas and lasted for seventy-seven continuous hours. Twenty-four contestants compete against each other to see who can keep their hand on a pickup truck for the longest amount of time. Whoever endures the longest without leaning on the truck or squatting wins it. See just how far a group of people are willing to go for a free truck!
A must watch for any film lover, especially if horror movies are your thing. Fear itself explores our relationship with fear and how horror movies exploit it. The narrator, haunted by her own traumatic life events takes us on a journey through the scariest horror moments in cinema history. It features a scene from the film Lost Highway by David Lynch which still haunts me! It's available to watch on iplayer (if you are in the U.K) which I've linked in the title.
After coming across a video featuring the bizarre sport of 'competitive endurance tickling', New Zealand film maker David Farrier found himself the unexpected target of homophobic abuse. After attempting to reach out to the producer of the competitive tickling videos via their Facebook page, 'Jane O'Brian Media' directly attacked Farriers bi-sexuality. Rather than putting him off, this only heightened his interest in the 'sport' so he set out to make a film to investigate. What starts as a quirky profile quickly develops into a mystery thriller. Watch the trailer below!
All the trailers are linked in the title unless otherwise stated. All drawings were created by me specially for this blog post. Happy watching and keep your eyes peeled for my next installment!