Gone are the days of documentaries being deemed boring and a waste of time. With docu-series’ being consumed faster thanks to streaming services like Netflix, the documentary is one media form that’s making a come-back.
Today, FIB is taking you through a bunch of our writer’s favourite documentaries and docu-series that have left a lasting impression on them.
Netflix’s documentary series, Murder Mountain is a six-part story about California’s notorious Humboldt County and the large rate of missing persons that accumulates there. It follows the story of the marijuana growing industry that absorbs the town, both legally and illegally. It also centers around the murder of Garret Rodriguez and his father’s quest for answers into what happened. The series takes an honest look at marijuana farmers and dispels the image of the creepy drug dealer but instead focuses on how growing cannabis legally is the financial backbone of many Humboldt residents. However, the documentary investigates the issue of black-market marijuana growing.
The town is famous for having the highest rate of missing people in America due to the dangerous business of growing weed illegally. Many tourists move to the picturesque mountains of Humboldt County, hoping to earn a lot of money farming weed. But as the documentary describes, many of these people are exploited, abused and even killed. The series is a raw look into the two sides of marijuana farming, and how you can rise to success or fall to imprisonment or even death.
Dogs, a Netflix documentary series created around man’s best friend – need I say anything more? The series takes a look at some miraculous dogs all around the world and the impact they have on us. The series spans over six episodes, each featuring a different heartwarming story. One of the episodes focus on support dogs that help children with disabilities, whilst another episode focuses on the world of dog grooming.
The series provides an intimate insight into our furry friends and just how intelligent and special they are. It’s a beautiful portrayal of the unique bond between dogs and humans and most episodes left me in tears! The series features some important topics such as the issue of stray dogs and gives an insight into how hard people work to protect them. The series is heartwarming, funny and compelling and I would it recommend to any animal lover…as well as a box of tissues!
Louis Theroux: The Night in Question (2019)
Louis Theroux is a master. His journalistic background allows for him to remain neutral in every situation and it’s truly a sight to behold. Every documentary he makes, in conjunction with the BBC, looks at topical issues in the most neutral way possible. The Night in Question is Theroux’s latest documentary that explores sexual assault at US college campuses. Interviewing the accused and the victims, Theroux investigates how these colleges are dealing with such allegations. The documentary provides a platform for both sides of the story to be told in a judgement-free zone. Theroux’s documentary style is impressive, informative and educational – if you haven’t had the pleasure of watching, I highly recommend.
Our introduction into what it means to be “catfished” (a type of deceptive activity involving a person creating a fake social networking presence for nefarious purposes – if you still don’t know). Nev Schulman’s documentary about his personal experience with online dating coined a term that would be used all around the world. This documentary follows Nev as he engages in a romantic relationship with a woman named Megan on Facebook, but all wasn’t as it seemed. After Nev figures out that things were a bit off with Megan, he and his brother decide to spontaneously visit her and see if she was actually who she said she was. This documentary is effective in detailing the dangers of talking to strangers online. It also led to the incredibly popular MTV show, Catfish: The TV Show.
Abducted in Plain Sight (2017)
So bizarre… not only in terms of the crime committed, but in terms of the events and actions of the victim’s family, leading up to the initial interaction between Jan and Bob. It really highlights the differences in awareness between the 1970s and today. This disparity caused a lot of debate online, questioning how the abduction and brainwashing got to where it did. Were the parents negligent, or do we have to consider the context in which this occurred? People weren’t as educated on these types of crimes in the 70s, but on the other hand the parents were unbelievably naive, and so easily manipulated.
The Cosmos (Narrated by Morgan Freeman)
Whether you’re an astronomy nerd, or just a lover of the sultry tones of Mr. Freeman, this documentary really takes you “there”. It’s filled with stunning celestial visuals that’ll have you “Oo-ing” and “Ah-ing” in between sudden existential realisations of just how small we are. Plus, these sweeping shots and Morgan Freeman-led narration is so weirdly calming that any existential crisis is permanently, and beautifully, dulled. It’s also on YouTube, so that’s a win for sure.
Period. End of Sentence (2018)
Period. End of Sentence takes place in the rural town of Hapur, India. The stigma of menstruation is notable since women themselves feel ashamed to talk about it and men don’t know exactly what it is. This documentary reflects the reality of the taboo in India. It showcases how a group of women try to naturalise it by creating low-cost, biodegradable pads themselves and by inviting other members of the community to learn about them. This project is a reflection of women who are empowered to break the stigmas surrounding menstruation.
Have you seen any documentaries that left a lasting impression? Let us know what they are in the comments!