I wish I could recall the film that really got me hooked on documentaries. It might have been American Harmony, which I saw at a film festival in 2009. (It’s an amazingly interesting film about teams that compete in barbershop quartet competitions! I have included the trailer below.) Documentaries may be slower-paced, but I find the fascinating personal histories and the loving craft of the documentary makers (sometimes the “making of” feature is as good as the film itself) to be an irresistible combination. Here are a few that I have really enjoyed over the past year:
Being Elmo – A charming look at the man behind the famous Muppet.
Leonard Cohen: Bird on Wire – My introduction to the charismatic poet and singer (and not to be confused with the documentary, Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man which is still on my “to see” list). This film is based on footage taken while Cohen toured Europe in 1972.
Anvil! The Story of Anvil – I don’t know anyone who has taken me up on my frequent recommendations of this movie, but I stand by it! Sure, it’s about two guys chasing success as a heavy metal band way into middle age, but the heart of the film is their enduring friendship and belief in following your dream.
Louder Than A Bomb – I think this is my “new favorite” documentary! It follows several different high school students/schools from Chicago as they prepare and compete in a poetry slam. The creativity of these young artists blew me away.
View the official trailer for American Harmony:
I’m always looking for new documentary recommendations so please feel free to share your favorites!