Top 5 Documentaries

By James Tully

To celebrate our great documentaries playing this week TICKLED and THE KILLING$ OF TONY BLAIR we have compiled our list of our favourite documentaries. A great doc has the power to open your eyes to an issue, educate and entertain you in areas you barely knew existed. It's an amazing genre and we are pleased to be playing documentaries in the cinema. Don't miss the upcoming MY SCIENTOLOGY MOVIE by Louis Theroux with a satellite Q&A after the film.

5. Bowling for Columbine (15)
Michael Moore’s study of gun rights in the wake of high school tragedies like Columbine points out all the absurdities in America’s second amendment. By making this film humorous as well as shocking it makes the subject more accessible but don’t mistake the lighter tone – the film has teeth and goes for its subject full force.

4. The Cove (15)
A great example of activism in documentary. Ric Barry has been putting himself on the edge of Marine rights for over 20 years and this story follows him and his team as they try and stop the dolphin cull that takes place in Japan every year. It's horrifying and senseless footage and it really pushes you as a viewer to make a stand.
the cove

3. Hearts of Darkness (15)
A perfect study of how not to make a film. This behind the scenes documentary of the making of Apocalypse Now reveals a stressed Coppola fighting the elements, the studio and the cast in order to realise his vision. As the film runs more and more over budget and time it shows what a miracle it is that this film turned out to be the classic it is.

2. In the Shadow of the Moon (12A)
A stunning recount of the events that took man to the moon, as told by the men who went there. Astronauts reveal their true feelings about their missions, NASA and each other. Featuring amazing footage of the space missions and a sense of fear that you never usually get form most documentaries. It’s fascinating stuff.

1. How to Survive a Plague (15)
A shocking and emotional look at Gay Rights activists and their fight for life during the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s. The story covers two coalitions who whilst fighting the medical companies also face in-fighting over what their focus should be. It’s an absolutely devastating story as the people in the film start to pass away from the disease before the battle is over. They are literally fighting for their lives. Nominated for Best Documentary at the Oscars, it remains the single most powerful piece of film-making I have ever seen.

Some of our faves narrowly missed the list. Here's some runners-up.

The Imposter
Grey Gardens
The Act of Killing
Man on Wire
Room 237
Hoop Dreams
Tim’s Vermeer
When We Were Kings