Documentary and non-fiction films have the power to excite, educate and inform. These following titles are just six of dozens of awesome documentary features you can find on Netflix. As you watch them, you’ll be able to explore historical movements, fantastic personalities, and unique cultural perspectives.
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Journalist and first time filmmaker, Alison Klayman burst upon the documentary circuit with this detailed portrait of China’s preeminent contemporary artist. Klayman lets you witness the Chinese government try in vain to silence its most famous dissident, blocking his internet access, bulldozing his studio, and holding him in secret detention. The film took home the special jury prize at Sundance in 2012, and has gone on to win universal acclaim.
Phillippina “Pina” Bausch was a ground-breaking German modern dance choreographer who blurred the lines between acting, theatre, and dance to create a whole new style called Tanztheater. Wim Wender directed this visually stunning love letter to Pina’s artistry. Originally shot in 3D, the film retains its kinetic beauty even when viewed on your home TV or computer over Netflix.
Director Paul-Émile d’Entremont’S Last Chance chronicles the lives of five LGBT people fleeing violence and persecution in their homelands and seeking asylum in Canada. Their stories are horrific and heartbreaking, and their plight amplifies as they face deportation from the only place they hoped would give them solace.
The Punk Singer: A Film About Kathleen Hanna
The Punk Singer chronicles Kathleen Hanna’s rise as a signature voice in modern feminism as a zine-writer, activist, and the front-person for legendary punk-bands Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. Interviews with Kim Gordon, Joan Jett, Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein, and the Beastie Boys’ Adam Horovitz shed light on how Hanna found herself at the centre of the riot grrrl movement, and why she suddenly stopped performing in 2005.
Blackfish tells the chilling story of Tilikum, a captive orca at SeaWorld Orlando who killed his trainer in 2010. An expose of a tragic event, a detailed chronicle of majestic wildlife, and an exploration of a corporate cover-up, the film is an activist tour-de-force. Since its release, laws banning orca and cetacean captivity have been introduced in the U.S. on the state and federal level, and SeaWorld attendance and revenues are in steady decline.
How to Survive a Plague
In the 1980s and 90s, government inaction on the AIDS epidemic was literally sending millions of people to their graves. How to Survive a Plague takes you inside the efforts of ACT UP and TAG, two activists groups that emerged out of sheer desperation. It’s absolutely remarkable to watch these groups of people work together to transform one of the modern era’s deadliest epidemics into what is now a manageable disease. The film is at once epic and intimate, frustrating, heartbreaking, inspiring, historical and moving – everything you want in a great doc.