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After a few days of binging all the episodes of Tiger King and finishing books that have been on your nightstand forever, what else is there to do while we adjust to the new normal of stay-at-home living? Answer: Binge watch some more (but while learning). Amazon Prime (opens in new tab) offers a plethora of great documentaries (opens in new tab) that are keeping us both entertained and educated: Fahrenheit 11/9 reminds us that there is indeed more we can do in politics, the Jonas Brothers’ self-produced doc Chasing Happiness has us feeling all the feels, and don't forget One Child Nation—last year’s bombshell film that details yet another account of policing women’s bodies. Ahead are eight documentaries to watch right now (like, right now!).
One Child Nation (2019)
One Child Nation is an equal parts powerful and chilling documentary that looks at the history of China’s one-child policy. With the reverberations of the strict family planning mandate being felt three decades later, director Nanfu Wang offers an intimate glimpse into the policy’s effect on the country.
Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018)
Acclaimed filmmaker Michael Moore’s new documentary discusses the Flint water crisis, the Parkland school shooting, and the rise of white nationalism to illustrate the overall feeling of uneasiness in contemporary America. Rife with Moore’s characteristic jokes and stunts, the film urges us to keep fighting the good fight.
Chasing Happiness (2019)
Chasing Happiness tells the story of the Jonas Brothers—the creation, the breakup, and everything in between. This 90-minute documentary attempts to answer an age-old question: Who broke up the band in the first place? Just like “Lovebug,” you’ll find yourself coming back to this film again and again.
Human Flow (2017)
Contemporary artist Ai Weiwei documents the global refugee crisis in Human Flow. In beautiful visual language, he tracks how this crisis has upended the lives of tens of millions of people, regardless of their race, age, and religion. As the raw images of men, women, and children fill the screen, Ai Wei Wei offers no easy answers; rather, he suggests increased empathy as the only remedy.
The Act of Killing (2012)
This story began when the Indonesian government commissioned Anwar Congo (opens in new tab) to eliminate the country’s “communists.” Director Joshua Oppenheimer uses Congo’s testimonies as an entry point to explore the complex dynamics of the 1965 Indonesian genocide. The film is a surreal, meta-experiment, one you will have to see for yourself to understand fully.
Here, a short film for anyone who needs their daily sriracha kick: Directed by Griffin Hammond, this lighthearted doc will introduce you to the man behind the spicy phenomenon and how the Tran rooster, which serves as the company logo, was conceived.
Former New Orleans Saints defensive back Steve Gleason is diagnosed with ALS while his wife is pregnant and struggles to find ways to adapt with his new life. Narrated by video journals from Gleason to his unborn son, the documentary serves as an intimate portrayal of one family’s struggle with the degenerative disease.
The Endless Summer (1966)
Bruce Brown’s classic follows surfers Mike Hynson and Robert August’s one-year-long quest to chase the summer season as it moved hemisphere to hemisphere. Surfing the best waves from New Zealand to South Africa, the film details the universal desire to live out your dream. It’s a story of unbreakable friendship, intoxicating adventure, but most of all, the tangibility of an endless summer— something we could all use a little bit of right now.
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The Documentaries You Can't Afford To Miss in 2020 (opens in new tab)
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