Documentaries are a great way to get educated on a variety of topics. They are also often incredibly inspiring and can help you become more aware of the world around you.
Top 5 Documentaries to Educate Yourself While Watching
If you’re looking for a documentary to add to your collection, here are 5 that should definitely be on your watch list. They’ll open your eyes to new cultures, hobbies, and lifestyles you may not have been exposed to otherwise!
1. There’s Something in the Water
The film opens with children swimming in the ocean, families picnicking along shorelines and a sober voiceover from Page. She explains that the popular image of Canada as an ocean playground isn’t true. Instead, she argues, the province’s history is tied to colonialism and the destruction of natural resources.
Throughout the film, she cedes much of the screen time to local activists. She and her collaborator, Ian Daniel, use the film’s simple structure to focus on their subjects rather than a plethora of talking heads. You can watch it easily on Discovery Plus Canada.
2. The Dragon’s Gift
The Dragon’s Gift is a sequel to DreamWorks Animation’s 2010 hit How to Train Your Dragon, and is sure to please fans of the original film. It’s a holiday short that is sure to make your heart melt and bring out the kid in you.
The short follows Hiccup, Toothless, and their friends as they prepare for the holidays. Despite some marginal language (a girl calls her brother an “idiot” and a couple of times says “stupid”), exploding houses, and mild gross-out humor, the main themes are the joy of giving, family relationships, and friendship.
It’s a quick and fun holiday short that is sure to please kids, but it might be a little hard for young kids to follow. It moves at a fast pace, and the characters assume viewers know the story behind their relationships.
3. Just Mercy
Just Mercy is a documentary that will have you thinking about how injustice affects the black community. Based on the true story of Bryan Stevenson, it follows the world-renowned civil rights lawyer as he takes up the fight to free death row inmates.
After completing a legal internship at a law firm, Stevenson heads south to Alabama where he establishes the Equal Justice Initiative and devotes his time to defending those facing death for wrongful convictions or those not afforded proper representation.
He quickly meets up with an inmate named ‘Johnny D’ McMillian (Jamie Foxx) who has been wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to die by the electric chair.
As a young attorney, Stevenson underestimates McMillian’s perseverance but is relentless in his effort to prove his client’s innocence. His determination to help people in need is a testament to his faith in the justice system and, ultimately, his own ability to fight for a cause.
4. The 13th
If you want to watch a documentary that’s about to educate you while watching, look no further than Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated 13th. This is a documentary that explores the history of racial injustice in America.
It also examines the prison system in the United States and its impact on the Black community. This documentary follows the same format as many other activist documentaries: interviews, statistics, and footage. But it does so with a cinematic tidiness that makes this film both engaging and enraging.
Director DuVernay uses two timelines: one to discuss the machinations of the justice system, and the other to show how the prison population has grown over time. These timelines are accompanied by a number of interviews, including those with politicians and conservative pundits.
Throughout the documentary, DuVernay also cites many other examples of injustice that have occurred in the past, including Jim Crow and the War on Drugs. She also points out how the government has vilified and infiltrated the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements.
5. Into Great Silence
One of the most revered documentaries I’ve ever seen is Into Great Silence, which follows the lives of Carthusian monks at the Grande Chartreuse monastery in the French Alps.
It’s an extremely beautiful film, and its precise compositions and exquisite use of light at times resemble paintings by Vermeer.
It also resembles film by filmmakers like Tarkovsky and Malick, who have sought creative freedom in formal austerity.
But Into Great Silence is more than a documentary about a specific religious lifestyle: it’s a transcendent meditation on the human pursuit of meaning and the form and function of symbols, ritual and tradition.
The film, which takes nearly three hours to complete, is a true testament to the power of silence in its purest forms. It’s a film that makes you want to experience the hushed world of the Carthusian monks for yourself.
To sum it up, here are the top 5 documentaries which you need to watch to educate yourself about various issues in the world. Make sure to take time out to stream it online.