I’ve always had a passion for movies. Not only are they a great entertainment option when you want to unwind, but they also allow you to dive into a completely foreign world (whether real or make-believe). They have the ability to get your adrenaline pumping, to make you laugh, to make you cry and, sometimes, a mix of all of the above.
As much as I enjoy blockbusters and big Hollywood productions with A-list casts, there’s something special about documentaries. It’s nice to be able to escape the everyday, even if briefly, by watching an action-packed film, but choose the right documentary and it’ll be even more rewarding. Give it a try: Find one on a subject you love and it’ll be just as engaging and thrilling (if not more) as the biggest special effects-packed flick.
As David Edelstein once wrote for Vulture after attending the Tribeca Film Festival, “I want to sell you hard on the notion that in this age of digital video – in which there are cheap cameras, editing software, and funding to be had (if rarely big money to be earned) – the cool kids are making docs. The form is not just good for you these days. It’s incredibly sexy.”
Anna Godas, the chief executive of Dogwoof Pictures, drove the point home when she spoke with the Economist. “Since the success of films like Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, which won the Cannes Palme d’or in 2004 (unprecedented for a documentary), and Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me in the same year, I think filmmakers have become more aware of how to make documentaries entertaining.”
They are certainly all that and more. Here are the three docs I’m currently watching:
Based on the New York Times bestseller, The Secret features interviews with leading authors, philosophers and scientists and claims to reveal The Great Secret of the universe. “The Secret that utterly transformed the lives of every person who ever knew it, [including] Plato, Newton, Carnegie, Beethoven, Shakespeare, Einstein.”
As the film’s official synopsis reads: “The Secret. It has been passed throughout the ages, traveling through centuries… to reach you. This is the secret to everything – joy, health, money, relationships, love, happiness… everything you have ever wanted. In this astonishing film are ALL the resources you will need to understand and live The Secret.”
Cirque du Soleil: A Thrilling Ride to Kooza
For most Montrealers (myself included), Cirque du Soleil is a source of great hometown pride. Not to mention the fact that its meteoric rise to fame serves as inspiration for many local entrepreneurs.
Rather than simply showing one of Cirque’s most popular productions, Kooza, this interesting doc takes viewers behind the scenes. If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to put on such a massive show, this is your ticket to step deep inside Cirque’s creative processes.
Press ‘Play’ and “embark on a journey that starts at the humble beginnings of some of Cirque’s creative pioneers as they share their personal voyage – and a few revealing anecdotes – that highlight the multiple stages of the creation of a live show, from studio rehearsals to the world premiere in Montreal.”
The Perfect Human Diet
In this food-centric documentary, journalist C.J.Hunt sets out on a mission to better understand and discover some sort of solution for the world’s growing obesity epidemic.
If you’ve seen and been fascinated by Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me, you’ll definitely want to give this movie a watch, as “it explores modern dietary science, previous historical findings, ancestral native diets and the emerging field of human dietary evolution.”
Since its release, the film, dubbed “the world’s first paleo movie”, has received such strong feedback and sparked so many conversations that Hunt “decided to expand my role from reporter to advocate by writing a companion book to the film to answer those many questions.”
Do you have a favorite documentary? Be sure to share it with me in the comments below.