Life on the big screen

comments 15

Watching life

November was a GOOD film month for me. Best for a very long time. 14 films in one little month! Well, normal sized month. Dropping TV shows left, right and centre, has definitely helped me up my film viewing numbers.

Funny thing. Exactly half of the films I saw, were documentaries. I was on a massive docu-film kick. And still am.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a new thing. I’ve always enjoyed watching documentaries. Here and there. But this was the first time I was actually searching out more to watch. Also, Sky are doing a documentary film per week on Sky Atlantic, which is proving helpful in this new thing of mine.

So, what was it that I saw?

  1. TT: Closer to the Edge
  2. The Crash Reel
  3. Life in a Day
  4. The Act of Killing
  5. The Imposter
  6. Searching for Sugar Man
  7. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

It would be very easy for me to bang on about every single one of these films. The people in them are all so interesting. Their stories are like fiction at times.

The Imposter

The Imposter could very easily be a work of fiction. I was left gobsmacked by that film. Gobsmacked and a little bewildered. Did that actually happen? If you haven’t seen the film, just watch it. Don’t try to find out more about it. I had zero previous knowledge of the subject of the film before going into it. Other than it being a wee bit creepy. The ending – something I could never have expected.

The Act of Killing

The Act of Killing was a tough one for me to watch. It was hard to get into. Maybe, subconsciously, the nature of it all stopped me from getting too into it. Well, that and the awful font choice for the subtitles. Seriously, you’re going to choose a silly, thing font with a black outline when background it’s showed on is invariable patterned?! Film makers, if you know your film has subtitles, choose a GOOD font.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry made me wish I could be better and do things that are worth something. As did TT: Closer to the Edge and The Crash Reel. These people are following their passions because it drives them as human beings. I wish I had an ounce of what these people have.

If I had to pick my favourite out of these that I saw last month, I wouldn’t be able to. Sure, there are some stand outs – The Crash Reel, The Imposter and Closer to the Edge are up there. All were extremely well made and had a real feel of a story to them, with a beginning, middle and end.

Is it curiosity that drives me to watch documentaries? They’re not for everyone, I know that. Mention a documentary to an average multiplex film viewer, and they’re likely to turn their nose up. But I’m generalising MASSIVELY there.

My all time favourite documentary film? Senna. A well made film not just documentary. So far, nothing has made me feel like I have done after seeing that film.

Looking forward to watching more docu-films. Any recommendations are really appreciated. Also, want to know what your favourites are and if you even watch any films from this genre.


  1. Nothing beats a good documentary, but there are a load of crap ones out there! Loves SugarMan – had my doubts about his popularity until the footage from the S.A. gigs – then I was sold. Such an awesome story!

    Keep hearing good – but warning – things about Acts of Killing. Definitely need to give it a bash!

  2. Isn’t The Imposter absolutely crazy?? Could not believe that was a true story.

    Other docs I would recommend:

    Dear Zachary (keep tissues handy)
    Exit Through the Gift Shop
    Best Worst Movie (a must watch if you have seen Troll 2)
    The Thin Blue Line
    Winnebago Man

    • While watching The Imposter, THE imposter just started looking creepier and creepier. I swear!

      Will keep those all noted down, thanks for the recs 😀

    • Excellent suggestions by Eric. Also try to get your hand on The Staircase (it is 7 parts, but almost feels like a dramatic TV show).

      Other ones I enjoyed watching : Collapse (2009), Starz Inside: Fantastic Flesh (2008), Just for Kicks (2003), Tales from the script (2009), The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (2009), My Kid Could Paint That (2007), Turn It Loose (2009)

  3. Great list of docs. The Imposter was very surprising. How those people could be so gullible?
    I am starting to appreciate them more and more. I recommend Stories We Tell, great family documentary. I also heard great things about Man on Wire.

      • Really enjoyed Man on Wire too. And totally agree Nostra! Even though towards the end of the film, I felt he was a bit of an arrogant man. Ambitious. But a wee bit arrogant.

    • I’m thinking, the family, just must have really wanted their son back that much. Or … well, they too were trying to cover something up. Like the film alludes to. But by the end, I just didn’t know who to believe.

      Man on Wire is brilliant. A very good film that makes you want to do amazing things!

  4. Senna is amazing, I agree.

    Just saw The Act of Killing this week, very powerful,especially the last part, I’ll never think of a teddy bear the same way again. That’s the best doc I’ve seen in a while.

    The Imposter was also great,had me on the edge of my seat. Agree with Cristian in comment that the family were gullible, since his eye color was different, but maybe they wanted him back so bad that they didn’t mind?

    Ever watch Paradise Lost (1996) ? That’s a great courtroom documentary, highly recommended:

    • I’ve not watched that one, Chris. Will put it on my list. But sounds like I’ll need something a little uplifting after I see it.

  5. I really enjoyed Queen of Versailles – it very much surprised me.

    You should get the Louis Theroux boxset. Before all the celeb docs, he did some really great ones.

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