My friends and family laugh when I start a sentence with, “I was watching this documentary…” they know I’m about to go off on a tangent about some weird and wonderful subject I learnt about from a documentary. I don’t watch the kind of documentaries with cute animals and about the migration of monarch butterflies. I like to watch doco’s that can be confronting, and inspire me to appreciate and question the wonderful world around me. I couldn’t tell you how many doco’s I’ve watched over the years, but I’m going to list five of my favourite’s below:
1) The Cove
The Cove covers the Taiji drive hunt of dolphins that takes place in Taiji, Wakayama, Japan every year. The film brings attention to the mass dolphin slaughters in a bid to halt them, change the laws around the killing of the dolphins and to educate people about the hazard of mercury poising from dolphin meat.
Each year the dolphins are driven into a cove where they are trapped in nets. Some are said to be sold for entertainment while the remaining, unwanted dolphins are slaughtered with spears and knives.
This documentary is very real and confronting, and even writing this brings up the feelings of sadness and helplessness I experienced when watching this movie. But despite it having such an emotional impact on me, the compassion and willingness of those involved to do whatever it takes to expose the truth, left me feeling empowered.
Blackfish questions the morals and consequences of keeping orcas in captivity. It follows the story of Tilikum, an orca in captivity that has been involved in the deaths of three people.
The bone chilling video and the conditions the orca are kept in made as much of an emotional impact on me as The Cove. It made me think twice about visiting theme parks that featured animals, and inspired me to research where these parks get their animals from.
3) Before The Flood
Before the flood follows actor Leonardo DiCaprio as he visits regions around the globe revealing the impact of man-made global warming. The film focuses on the denial of climate change among politicians of the United states.
We’ve all heard about global warming and climate change, and this film documents cases where people and places are being effected making it a real problem, not just some story you hear about on the news.
Gloria Steinem is an American feminist, journalist, and social and political activist. The series of documentaries gives insight into the violence and oppression women around the world are still facing today, and shows how women are taking a stand and becoming part of the solution.
This documentary displays the resilience and strength of women, even under the most extreme and horrifying conditions. Not only will these stories shock and sadden you, but they’ll help you feel empowered and know that whatever life throws at you, you have the ability to push on and make a change, if only a small one.
5) Did God Create the Universe?
Physicist and Cosmologist, Stephen Hawking, asks if there’s a need for a God or other supernatural beings, to create and control the universe in todays world. The film takes a look at beliefs through history and gives examples where god’s and legends were created to explain natural phenomena when scientific explanations weren’t yet available. Hawking also covers the set of physical laws that govern the way the universe works and raises the question, “if these laws are fixed, what purpose is there for God?”
Whether you believe in Stephen Hawking’s theory, science can answer for everything, or you follow a particular belief system or religion, this documentary is an interesting look into the history of different religious beliefs and the science behind how the world works. As someone with my own beliefs, I also strongly believe it’s important to have an open mind and not only challenge your own belief systems and truths from time to time, but to be open to learning more about others.
These are only five of the many documentaries I’ve enjoyed, and I hope to bring another list to you soon.
Have you watched any of these? What did you think?
Are there any documentaries you think I should watch? Let me know in the comments!