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.
Zeitgeist: Moving Forward
Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, by director Peter Joseph, is a feature length documentary work which will present a case for a needed transition out of the current socioeconomic monetary paradigm which governs the entire world society. This subject matter will transcend the issues of cultural relativism and traditional ideology and move to relate the core, empirical "life ground" attributes of human and social survival, extrapolating those immutable natural laws into a new sustainable social paradigm called a "Resource-Based Economy".
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
African Cats captures the real-life love, humor and determination of the majestic kings of the savanna. The story features Mara, an endearing lion cub who strives to grow up with her mother’s strength, spirit and wisdom; Sita, a fearless cheetah and single mother of five mischievous newborns; and Fang, a proud leader of the pride who must defend his family from a once banished lion.
Jackass 3.5 is a 2011 sequel to Jackass 3D, composed of unused footage shot during the filming of Jackass 3D and interviews from cast and crew
The Story of Film: An Odyssey
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.
Pearl Jam Twenty
Carved from over 1,200 hours of footage spanning the band’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.
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.
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.
The Last Lions
In Botswana's Okavango Delta, an ostracized lioness and her two cubs must fight alone to survive - overcoming all manner of hazards. Their only defense is to escape to Duba Island -- and with that, an unknown future. The setting for this epic tale is one of the last regions where lions can live in the wild. Faced with dwindling land and increasing pressure from hunting, lions - like our lone lioness and her cubs - are approaching the brink of extinction.
TT3D: Closer to the Edge
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.