There were so many unbelievably, mind-blowingly good documentaries from 2012 that I haven’t even seen all the titles that critics have been raving about from this past year. I’ve seen a lot though, and the fact that I haven’t even seen a good number that have been receiving award press reinforces to me that this was a big year for the documentary in particular as well as for movies in general.
It’s a genre of film that will never get as much attention as the fictional blockbuster, but all the same, these are titles that, when they connect, they really connect and stay with you for years. There’s also a status that non-fiction films enjoy that remains elusive for fictional films, and that is they can have real-world effects, such as An Inconvenient Truth’s impact on awareness about the effects of climate change, or famously, The Thin Blue Line’s effect on an actual police investigation, in which a convicted man’s verdict was re-examined by investigators because of evidence presented on film. That’s an effect that has already occurred because of at least one documentary this year.
Mostly, documentaries have a way of making truths more immediate to us, because we see them in action in the real world, or the version of the real world that we’re able to witness in movies. The idea of a “true story” is one people are drawn to in fictional films, but with a documentary, the veracity of a story is precisely what makes it so compelling. The whole notion of truth being stranger than fiction certainly applies.
Here’s 8 titles from the past year that you may not have put high on your list of must-sees, but are worth checking out.
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