Best Documentary Movies of 1959
Window Water Baby Moving
On a winter's day, a woman stretches near a window then sits in a bathtub of water. She's happy. Her lover is nearby; there are close ups of her face, her pregnant belly, and his hands caressing her. She gives birth: we see the crowning of the baby's head, then the birth itself; we watch a pair of hands tie off and cut the umbilical cord. With the help of the attending hands, the mother expels the placenta. The infant, a baby girl, nurses. We return from time to time to the bath scene. By the end, dad's excited; mother and daughter rest.
This final True-Life Adventure would also appear to be one of the best, as we go into the South American jungle to observe the jaguar. Jungle Cat is more intimate than its kin, allowing individual animal characters to be developed. Central to the cast is a pair of jaguars (one ebony), whose fighting leads to love and, not long after, two babies (one resembling each parent).
Short drama-documentary showing the first day in England of a Hungarian refugee.
The Diary of an Unknown Soldier
A short story narrated by an unknown British soldier who reveals his hopes, fears, and disillusionment while heading into battle against the German army.
We Are the Lambeth Boys
Seminal piece of documentary filmmaking by New Wave director Karel Reisz follows the daily activites of members of the Lambeth Youth club in late 1950's London.
Come Back, Africa
Come Back, Africa chronicles the life of Zachariah, a black South African living under the rule of the harsh apartheid government in 1959.
The Back-breaking Leaf
Here is a graphic picture of the tobacco harvest in southwestern Ontario. At the end of July, transient field workers move in for a brief bonanza when the plant is ripe. The tobacco harvesters call it "the back-breaking leaf."
Glenn Gould: On The Record
This short documentary follows Glenn Gould to New York City. There, we see the renowned Canadian concert pianist kidding the cab driver, bantering with sound engineers at Columbia Records, and then, alone with the piano, fastidiously recording Bach's Italian Concerto.
March to Aldermaston
Collaborative documentary (credited to a committee rather than to individual filmmakers) detailing the CND march from London to Aldermaston at Easter 1958.
The working day of enginemen at Newton Heath locomotive sheds, Manchester. They discuss the impact of dieselisation on their jobs.