Best Documentary Movies of 1991
Paris Is Burning
Where does voguing come from, and what, exactly, is throwing shade? This landmark documentary provides a vibrant snapshot of the 1980s through the eyes of New York City's African American and Latinx Harlem drag-ball scene. Made over seven years, PARIS IS BURNING offers an intimate portrait of rival fashion "houses," from fierce contests for trophies to house mothers offering sustenance in a world rampant with homophobia, transphobia, racism, AIDS, and poverty. Featuring legendary voguers, drag queens, and trans women — including Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey, and Venus Xtravaganza.
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse
A chronicle of the production problems — including bad weather, actors' health, war near the filming locations, and more — which plagued the filming of Apocalypse Now, increasing costs and nearly destroying the life and career of Francis Ford Coppola.
The Inner Strength
Adam Surat is the first film directed by Tareque Masud. It is a documentary about Bangladeshi painter Sheikh Mohammed Sultan (aks SM Sultan). Masud started the film in 1982 and completed seven years later.
A Brief History of Time
This shows physicist Stephen Hawking's life as he deals with the ALS that renders him immobile and unable to speak without the use of a computer. Hawking's friends, family, classmates, and peers are interviewed not only about his theories but the man himself.
Madonna: Truth or Dare
From the rain of Japan, through threats of arrest for 'public indecency' in Canada, and a birthday tribute to her father in Detroit, this documentary follows Madonna on her 1990 'Blond Ambition' concert tour. Filmed in black and white, with the concert pieces in glittering MTV color, it is an intimate look at the work of the music performer, from a prayer circle with the dancers before each performance to bed games with the dance troupe afterwards.
The Writing in the Sand
A richly lyrical documentary celebration of the vibrant beach life in the North East of England, constructed entirely out of Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen's black & white photographs.
The Doors: The Soft Parade
This historical music video features as its centrepiece The Doors' last televised appearance, aired on PBS in 1969.
Hard 'N' Heavy: Grindcore
Performances are bookended by interviews by the respective bands and Earache's Digby Pearson. 01. Napalm Death - If The Truth Be Known/Suffer The Children 02. Morbid Angel - Immortal Rites 03. Nocturnus - Lake of Fire 04. Paradise Lost - Dead Emotion 05. Prophecy of Doom - Rage Against Time 06. Godflesh - Christ Bait Rising 07. Cerebral Fix - Unity For Who/Enter The Turmoil 08. Sonic Violence - Manic 09. Bolt Thrower - Cenotaph 10. Vengeance Rising - Before The Time 11. Entombed - Left Hand Path 12. Carcass - Reek of Putrefaction
Appalachian Journey is one of five films made from footage that Alan Lomax shot between 1978 and 1985 for the PBS American Patchwork series (1991). It offers songs, dances, stories, and religious rituals of the Southern Appalachians. Preachers, singers, fiddlers, banjo pickers, moonshiners, cloggers, and square dancers recount the good times and the hard times of rural life there. Performers include Tommy Jarrell, Janette Carter, Ray and Stanley Hicks, Frank Proffitt Jr., Sheila Kay Adams, Nimrod Workman and Phyllis Boyens, Raymond Fairchild, and others, with a bonus of a few African-Americans from the North Carolina Piedmont. Narrated by Alan Lomax. The Association for Cultural Equity’s Alan Lomax Archive channel on YouTube additionally streams outtakes from this film: other strong performances by Sheila Kay Adams, Dellie Norton, and Cas Wallin, Lawrence Eller, the Hickses, Algia Mae Hinton and John Dee Holeman, Tommy Jarrell, John “Doodle” Thrower, and Nimrod Workman.
Sepultura: Under Siege (Live In Barcelona)
Brazilian speed-thrash-death metal band Sepultura are legendary for the extreme degree to which they delve into the depths of their genre. Always striving to be louder, faster, and deadlier (metaphorically, of course), Sepultura have inspired a countless number of modern metal bands as well as legions of obsessive fans. Under Siege was filmed live at Zeleste in Barcelona, Spain. For nearly an hour, Sepultura thrash through ten of their songs.