My high school History teacher found it was too much effort to lecture, so for weeks we spent our class periods watching documentaries. I would hear the droning voice of the Historian, talking about the Civil War or the government in China. My teacher would flip the lights off so we could properly see the screen, and I would rest my head on the desk and slowly fall asleep. I wouldn't awake until the period ended. The lights would flip back on, and I'd jerk my head up frantically and try and wipe the drool off my desk with my sweater before anyone noticed.
Yet while documentaries didn't have the best reputation in my grade school days, they've now become one of my favorite types of film. Documentaries are straight-forward, informative, and have been made on just about every topic, ranging from sports to music to marijuana. While documentaries still might not keep you hanging on the edge of your seat, I find a significant beauty in their sincerity and realistic portrayal of humans' knowledge, opinions, and passions. Here are my top five.
1. The September Issue
Following Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, and her team of stylists, photographers, and designers, Vanity Fair called this documentary"The real Devil Wears Prada." However, this film has little to do with relationships, diet, competition, or even Anna. The September Issue is a film about the making of the fall issue of Vogue, the longest-lasting and most successful of hundreds of fashion magazines. Instead of Hollywood's scripted depiction of uppity fashionista divas, this documentary bleeds creativity, vision, experience, and passion. This film contains some of the most beautifully romantic and inventive photography sets I've ever seen, further explaining why Vogue continues to stay on top.
2. Next: A Primer on Urban Painting
Netflix labels this film as: Heartfelt, and Exciting. Filmmaker, Pablo Aravena makes every minute of this movie, a documentary on urban graffiti, dense with history and vibrant aesthetics. Taking you around the globe to some of the most innovative cities on the planet, this film tells the history and future of this worldwide and often controversial art scene. It also features interviews from journalists, musicians, academics, and the artists themselves.