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Best documentary since... The Act of Killing.

Many consider "The Act of Killing" to be one of the best films of the last few years.

I've been out of the loop a bit and want to see some freshly released documentaries on DVD, online, anywhere in fact.

Does anyone have any favourites they would like to mention?



  • Not even one recommendation for a documentary made in the last couple of years... or any old hidden gems?

    Am I asking this to the wrong crowd?

    I feel like I've walked into a bar full of Fosters drinkers and asked for a "snowball".

    4 years ago
  • Happy People: A Year in the Taiga was one of the better documentaries I've seen recently, although it came out back in 2010. 'Let the Fire Burn', which came out last year, was also a very interesting watch.

    4 years ago
  • In the last 2 years...? That's a tricky one, I absolutely love documentaries! Marley and Searching for Sugar Man are the most memorable ones for me. Also The Four Horsemen, The Big Fix and Blackfish from a films for action perspective. The Imposter was also well told.

    Have you seen Restrepo? Epic event and great cinematogrpahy. 2010 so you've probably seen it.

    I'll come back if I think of any more!

    4 years ago
  • Two of the best political documentaries I have seen in the last 12 months are sadly about Israel and its recent history but made by Israeli filmmakers. They are "The Gatekeepers" (interviews with the prior six heads of and documentary history of Shin Bet, the Israel equivalent of MI5) and "The law in these parts" about Israeli military courts and occupation of land issues. Sadly I think both are still awaiting a UK (Region 2 release).

    I would also agree with the earlier nomination of "Restrepo" (UK made!) and another UK made documentary "McCullin" (2012) about the celebrated photographer Don McCullin and his experiences of being a war photographer.

    4 years ago
  • A slight tangent - "The Act Of Killing" may have been 'innovative' but for me in a very sickly way, in fact blinding us from deeper and more critical issues, contexts and sensitivities and therefore actively colluding with a global avoidance of seeing the forces behind this brutality. Without going into detail (and distracting from your question), there is an article "What Indonesians really think about The Act of Killing" at and also another by John Pilger "Our model dictator" about US, UK and Australia's support for Suharto (which effectively created those killers) at . I would question what we mean by 'best' or 'good' when referring to documentaries such as this. (BTW, I too thought Kevin McDonald's "Marley" was excellent).

    4 years ago
  • I would watch Lucy Walker's The Crash Reel. Another amazing doc from probably Britain's finest documentary maker.

    4 years ago
  • I saw 'BURN' early last year whilst in America, it's a thrilling documentary about the neglect of firefighters in Detroit, never thought a documentary about firefighting will be so moving...all the big studios turned it down because they felt it was too ambitious so the producer ended self distributing it...and what a success story that became

    'VIRUNGA'is the incredible gripping story of a group of brave people risking their lives to build a better future in Congo central Africa. It's an expose of the realities of life in one of the most bio-diverse places in the world. it opened at Tribeca earlier this year

    I also loved 'Who Is Dayani Cristal' a chilling sad story about immigrant border crossing in America-The body of an unidentified immigrant is found in the Arizona Desert. In an attempt to retrace his path and discover his story, director Marc Silver and Gael Garcia Bernal embed themselves among migrant travelers on their own mission to cross the border, providing rare insight into the human stories which are so often ignored in the immigration debate

    Also check out Narco Cultura, a 2013 documentary film about the South American film Mexican Drug War in Ciudad Juárez, directed by Shaul Schwarz.

    4 years ago
  • Thanks everyone. Here's a list of all of the films mentioned;

    The big fix
    The four horsemen
    The Gatekeepers
    The law in these parts
    The Crash Reel
    Who Is Dayani Cristal
    Narco Cultura
    Nostalgia For the Light
    We Went To War
    Two Years At Sea
    This Is Not A Film
    Vivan las antipodas
    Marina Marina Marina
    Only The Young
    Going Up The Stairs
    Beware of Ginger Baker
    You've Been Trumped
    Sound it Out
    Call Me Kuchu
    From the Sea To The Land Beyond
    The Bastard Sings The Sweetest Song
    Planet of Snail
    Under African Skies

    Just in case you have time to watch them all...

    Kuljit, I wouldn't want to get too heavily into a debate about The Act of Killing but for me it was about humans and their capacity for evil (albeit under a fascist leadership), not specifically about Indonesia.

    Dayo, I would like to see Virunga, having worked there and seen the tragic beauty of the country. And I'm very much looking forward to working with you in Lagos!

    4 years ago
    • Sorry Pritesh, missed these two;

      A year in the Taiga
      Let the fire burn

      4 years ago
  • The Missing Picture is worth checking out too, and though I think it was slightly before Act of Killing, 5 Broken Cameras is another top recent doc for me.

    4 years ago
  • The Queen of Versailles, Searching For Sugarman, Town of Runners, Cutie and the Boxer. Most were picked up for BBC 4's storyville.

    4 years ago
  • Cheers Tony. Some great additions there, the trailers look amazing.

    I saw Sugarman on a plane a while ago and it still made me well up, despite the viewing conditions.

    The other three look incredible. Thanks!

    4 years ago
  • No problem. Enjoy . They're a different mix of stories and styles for sure. p.s. watched some of your DOP work. Very Impressive.

    4 years ago
  • Add 'Splinters' to that. A slow starting doc. but quite moving and a really great piece of work from a first time filmmaker.

    4 years ago