Countdown to Election Day with 14 must-see documentaries – BillMoyers.com
In this world full of fake news, it’s heartwarming to know that there is at least one art form you can count on for the truth. By its very nature, a documentary film is based on fact. It’s like that. As Alfred Hitchcock once would have said: “In feature films, the director is God; In documentaries, God is the director.
A new study released last week by the Center for Media and Social Impact highlights the valuable role documentary films play in exploring the real consequences of many issues that plague our democracy, such as systemic racism, political corruption, l mass incarceration, climate change inaction and other injustices.
The study, “Breaking the Silence: How Documentaries Can Shape the Conversation About Racial Violence in America and Create New Communities, ”Was conducted earlier this year. He focused on the reactions of ITVS participants /Independent objective movie Always in season, who explored the lingering impact of over a century of lynching of African Americans and how that story is linked to racial violence today.
“Intimate and truthful independent documentaries play a unique role in promoting civil public dialogue around complex social issues,” the study’s authors said in a joint statement. “It is significant, in these times of division, to understand the richness of the community conversations around racial justice that took place when people watched Always in season together.”
The same could be said for so many great documentary films available to stream in our homes. Films that chronicle the real implications of so many issues so relevant to the November elections, including voting rights, climate change, immigration issues, health care, civil rights, national security and racism systemic.
So here are 14 documentary films that we recommend you watch before election day. All are available for streaming in your living room.
14. What is democracy?
Director Astra Taylor’s idiosyncratic philosophical journey spans millennia and continents: from ancient Athens’ revolutionary experience of self-government to the roots of capitalism in medieval Italy; of today’s Greece struggling with a financial meltdown and a growing refugee crisis in the United States that reckons with their racist past and the growing gap between rich and poor. With a diverse cast, this urgent film connects the past and the present, the emotional and the intellectual, the personal and the political, in order to provoke and inspire. If we want to live in a democracy, we must first ask ourselves what the word means. (Diffusion: itunes)
13. The great piracy
Award-winning filmmakers Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, The big hack unveils the dark world of data mining with stunning access to the personal journeys of key players on different sides of the explosive Cambridge Analytica / Facebook Data 2016 election scandal. The big hack forces us to question the origin of the information we consume on a daily basis. What do we give up to when we tap that phone or keyboard and share in the digital age? (Diffusion: Netflix)
12. Whose streets are they?
Filmmakers Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis know this story because they are the story. Told by activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, Whose streets? is a flawless look at the Ferguson uprising. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours on end, it marks a breaking point for residents of St. Louis, Missouri. Mourning, long-standing racial tensions and renewed anger unite residents to watch and protest this tragedy. (Diffusion: Various)
11. Always in season
When 17-year-old Lennon Lacy is found hanging from a swing in rural North Carolina in 2014, his mother’s search for justice and reconciliation begins amid the trauma of more than a century of Afro lynching -Americans bleed in the present. (Streaming: independent lens, PBS)
10. Totally under control
From Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex gibney, production with Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger, Totally under control takes a critical look at the first days of the pandemic. With damning testimonies from public health officials and rigorous investigative reporting, Gibney exposes a system-wide collapse caused by a profound lack of presidential leadership. It will be a generation before we know the full extent of the damage caused by this pandemic, but Totally under control will be the definitive account of the Trump administration’s incompetence, corruption and denial in the face of this global pandemic. (Diffusion: itunes, Seen)
9. All In: The struggle for democracy
By all accounts, filmmakers Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés rushed to finish their film in time for this year’s election – and we’re delighted they did. This is a film that all Americans must see to fully understand the implications of the 2013 Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. As The New York Times says in his film review: “In a sense, this is less a documentary for posterity than an urgent release” for now. (Diffusion: Amazon prime)
8. Agents of Chaos
Another film by Oscar winner Alex Gibney, Agents of Chaos is a two-part documentary examining Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. (Airing: Amazon prime)
7. The fight
The fight follows a rambling team of heroic ACLU lawyers in a new documentary from the directorial team of Eli B. Despres, Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, creators of the 2016 award-winning film Weiner. The ACLU has never granted access to its offices, although its battles – on the fronts of abortion rights, immigration rights, LGBT rights and voting rights – have become more timely and capitals than ever. (Diffusion: Various)
6. John Lewis: Good boredom
From filmmaker Dawn Porter comes John Lewis: Good trouble. An intimate account of the life, legacy and over 60 years of extraordinary activism of legendary U.S. Representative John Lewis – from the daring teenager on the front lines of the civil rights movement to the legislature that he was all about. throughout his career. (Streaming on Amazon prime)
5. An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth in Power
10 years later An inconvenient truth, Vice President Al Gore continues his tireless struggle by traveling the world to form an army of climate champions and influence international climate policy. Cameras follow him behind the scenes – in both private and public, funny and poignant moments – as he pursues the inspiring idea that while the stakes have never been higher, the dangers of climate change can to be overcome with human ingenuity and passion. (Diffusion: Amazon prime)
4. Save capitalism
Robert Reich, former US Secretary of Labor, examines fragile American democracy and its struggle for survival; As income and wealth peak, more and more Americans are being left behind. Now it’s up to these ordinary Americans to change the rules. Saving Capitalism is now streaming, only on Netflix.
3. Kill the dragon
In Slay the dragon, a new documentary from Participant Media, reporters Dave Daley, Ari Berman, Vann Newkirk and others discuss how lawmakers in some key states have used gerrymandering to draw ridings favorable to Republican candidates. Former Wisconsin state senator Dale Schultz (right) explains: “It really represents lawmakers choosing voters rather than voters choosing lawmakers.” (Streaming: Miscellaneous)
2. Country of immigration
With unprecedented access to immigration officers, as well as moving portraits of immigrants, this docuserie takes an in-depth look at immigration to Trump’s America. (Diffusion: Netflix)
Combining archival footage with testimonies from activists and academics, director Ava DuVernay’s examination of the US prison system examines how the country’s history of racial inequality results in the high rate of incarceration in America. (Free broadcast on Youtube)