Documenting my favorite documentaries

Written by hootenannie on April 16th, 2009

Netflix has made it easy for me to discover and watch some lesser-known documentaries – so while I love the popular “Spellbound” and “Young At Heart” (seriously – see them both! Your heart will sing!), I’ve unearthed some other gems that you should know about.

American Teen
A film crew descends on a high school in small town Warsaw, IN, and follows 5 teens through their entire senior year.  With disarming candidness, these 17-18 year olds draw you into their worlds; in a mere hour and 35 minutes, I honestly became emotionally invested in these kids.  When it was over, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to wallow and cry, remembering my own awkward high school experiences, or go out and hug every teenager I saw, in an effort to say, “It’s totally going to get better.  There is so much more to life.  Hang in there.”

How’s Your News?
Five mentally and physically challenged adults are taken on a rare adventure – an RV trip across the country with stops in major cities where they act as field reporters.  Get ready to fall in love with these people, and to sing along with the theme song (that they wrote!).

Born Into Brothels
We all know what happens in the Red Light district.  But what about the children who call it home?  Two filmmakers enter into the lives of the children of prostitutes in Calcutta, India, and build relationships with them, using photography lessons as a way to connect.  The horrific living conditions of the children juxtaposed with their sweet spirits and eye for poignant, incredible photography create a sense of urgency – is there a chance for a better life?

Standing in the Shadows of Motown
I watched this at the recommendation of Juliette.  And it is fantastic.

Shut Up and Sing
Remember when Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks made that controversial statement about the President of the United States?  This is what happened after.  And it’s amazing.  And inspiring.  And makes me want to stand up for what I believe is right.  Regardless of what you thought of “the incident,” as they call it, this is worth watching.  I will always love the Dixie Chicks.

Unknown White Male
How terrifying would it be to wake up on a New York subway with no clue as to who you were – except a phone number in your pocket and a British accent?  The mysterious amnesia of Doug Bruce – a young, good-looking, seemingly healthy man – made me think deeply about identity.  What is innate?  What is learned?  And if I woke up tomorrow with absolutely no idea who I was, would I still be me?

Go feed your mind.

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