By Nisarg Tripathi:
Documentary films are low budget films displaying a particular aspect of social, economic or ecological importance to be brought into urgent notice of the people. In today’s world people have lost interest in watching documentaries. This is the main reason why I decided to take up this topic and present to you the information about documentaries that have touched millions of hearts and those that I have found to be extremely good in particular. These are as follows:-
1) An Inconvenient Truth
A 2006 documentary film credited with raising the public awareness about climate change is based on former US vice president Al Gore’s attempt to educate the people about global warming through a slide show consisting of a detailed study about facts and figures. Directed by the famous documentary film maker David Guggenheim, this film has won 2 awards for the ‘Best Documentary Feature’ and the ‘Best Original Song’. It was a huge box office success and in mere 94 minutes, it creates a huge impact on the minds of the people regarding environment conservation.
2) The Cove
Awarded the ‘Best Documentary Feature’ in 2010, this 91 minute documentary illustrates the harsh and cruel dolphin killing practices that are going on in Japan. It shows how 23000 migrating dolphins every year are herded into a hidden cove where they are netted and killed by using spears and knives over the side of the boats. This film directed by the former National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos is a call to stop these mass killing practices and educate the people about the risks and the increasing hazard of mercury poisoning from eating dolphin meat. This film displays harsh photos and videos taken using hidden cameras in rocks where these practices are propagated. Told from an ocean conservationist’s point of view it has also won the U.S. Audience Award at the 25th Sundance Film Festival in January 2009.
3) Super Size Me
A unique documentary film with the same person (Morgan Spurlock) as the director, producer, writer and actor, this documentary is all about the epidemic spread of the obesity in the American society due to the non-nutritious food of the McDonald’s food chain. In this documentary the actor actually underwent an experiment of eating the food at McDonalds 3 times a day due to which he gained a weight of 11.1 kg and a cholesterol level of whooping 230. He also experienced mood swings, sexual dysfunction and fat accumulation in the liver which took about 14 months for Spurlock to overcome by having a strict detox diet. This 98 min film was nominated for an Academy Award for the ‘Best Documentary Feature’.
4) Inside Job
Addressing the issue of global financial crisis of 2008 it is a documentary film divided into 5 parts featuring interviews with financiers, politicians, journalists and academics. It is nearly a 108 minute film which covers the systemic corruption of the US Economy and its causes. It also shows how drastic changes in the environmental policy and banking practices in the US triggered this massive financial crisis that extended over a period of 2007-2010. Directed by Charles Ferguson this documentary was featured in the 2010 Cannes Film Festival which earned gross revenue of a whopping 7.3 million dollars.
5) Bowling for Columbine
Receiving a decent 8.2 rating from the site imdb.com this documentary explores the root causes of the Columbine High School massacre and the spreading violence on the US streets. Directed by Michael Moore, its name is derived from the story of two students who attended a bowling class at 6:00 am in the morning before committing the brutal massacre at the Columbine High School. Focussing on gun violence involving youths and availability of firearms in the US for juveniles this film gave its director international recognition as a rising film maker. Covering the aspect in 119 minutes this 2002 film won many awards like Academy Award for the Best Documentary Feature, Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature apart from the special 55th anniversary prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and the Cesar Award for Best Foreign Film.