Best Documentary Movies of 2011
Samsara is a word that describes the ever turning wheel of life. It is a concept both intimate and vast - the perfect subject for filmmakers Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson, whose previous collaborations include Chronos and Baraka, and who, in the last 20 years, have travelled to over 58 countries together in the pursuit of unique imagery. Samsara takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation that will transform viewers in countries around the world as they are swept along a journey of the soul. Through powerful images pristinely photographed in 70mm and a dynamic music score, the film illuminates the links between humanity and the rest of the nature, showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Revered sushi chef Jiro Ono strives for perfection in his work, while his eldest son, Yoshikazu, has trouble living up to his father's legacy.
Frozen Planet takes you on the ultimate polar expedition. This landmark 7-part series brings to the screen the two most remote and least hospitable areas on the planet: the frozen wildernesses of the Arctic and Antarctic. And yet, despite environments where temperatures reach minus 70 degrees Celsius and the sun doesn't shine for half the year, life flourishes. Prime attention is given to seals, penguins, and polar bears, but there's a great deal more: from slugs, snails, and caterpillars to minke whales, beluga whales, and narwhals, from seabirds and cod gathering by the millions to wolves tracking bison and caribou. There are breathtaking shots of the landscape as well, and portraits of the human element.
Into the Abyss
In intimate conversations with those involved, including 28-year-old death row inmate Michael Perry (who was scheduled to die eight days after his interview with Herzog), legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog achieves what he describes as "a gaze into the abyss of the human soul." As he's so often done before, Herzog's investigation unveils layers of humanity, making an enlightening trip out of ominous territory.
Life in a Day
A documentary shot by filmmakers all over the world that serves as a time capsule to show future generations what it was like to be alive on the 24th of July, 2010.
Forks Over Knives
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
The Story of Film: An Odyssey
The Art of Flight
Iconic snowboarder Travis Rice and friends redefine what is possible in the mountains. Experience the highs, as new tricks are landed and new zones opened, alongside the lows, where avalanches, accidents, and wrong-turns strike.
Pearl Jam: Twenty
Carved from over 1,200 hours of footage spanning the bandâ€™s career, Pearl Jam: Twenty is the definitive portrait of Pearl Jam. Part concert film, part intimate insider-hang, and part testimonial to the power of music.
How to Die in Oregon
In 1994 Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. At the time, only Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands had legalized the practice. 'How to Die in Oregon' tell the stories of those most intimately involved with the practice today -- terminally ill Oregonians, their families, doctors, and friends -- as well as the passage of an assisted suicide law in Washington State.
Queen: Days of Our Lives
In 1971, four college students got together to form a rock band. Since then, that certain band called Queen have released 26 albums and sold over 300 million records worldwide. The popularity of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon is stronger than ever 40 years on. But it was no bed of roses. No pleasure cruise. Queen had their share of kicks in the face, but they came through and this is how they did it, set against the backdrop of brilliant music and stunning live performances from every corner of the globe. In this film, for the first time, it is the band that tells their story. Featuring brand new interviews with the band and unseen archive footage (including their recently unearthed, first ever TV performance), it is a compelling story told with intelligence, wit, plenty of humor and painful honesty.
All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace
A series of films about how humans have been colonized by the machines we have built. Although we don't realize it, the way we see everything in the world today is through the eyes of the computers.
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
A further investigation into the arrest of three teenagers convicted of killing three young boys in Arkansas who spent nearly 20 years in prison before being released after new DNA evidence indicated they may be innocent.
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey
Beloved by children of all ages around the world, Elmo is an international icon. Few people know his creator, Kevin Clash, who dreamed of working with his idol, master puppeteer Jim Henson. Displaying his creativity and talent at a young age, Kevin ultimately found a home on Sesame Street. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, this documentary includes rare archival footage, interviews with Frank Oz, Rosie O’Donnell, Cheryl Henson, Joan Ganz Cooney and others and offers a behind-the-scenes look at Sesame Street and the Jim Henson Workshop.
An examination of the life of acclaimed 'horse whisperer' Buck Brannaman, who recovered from years of child abuse to become a well-known expert in the interactions between horses and people.
Five Broken Cameras
One Life captures unprecedented and beautiful sequences of animal behaviour guaranteed to bring you closer to nature than ever before, as well as a second disc packed full of never before seen extras including an exclusive making of featurette narrated by Daniel Craig.
Set against the backdrop of a high school football season, Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martinâ€™s documentary UNDEFEATED is an intimate chronicle of three underprivileged student-athletes from inner-city Memphis and the volunteer coach trying to help them beat the odds on and off the field. For players and coaches alike, the season will be not only about winning games â€” it will be about how they grapple with the unforeseeable events that are part of football and part of life.