Documentaries, in addition to being a great opportunity for today’s independent filmmakers, they are films that can be made with small badgets and big motivations. They are also the territory where the public can acquire a great awarness of the world around us.
Undoubtedly, the fascination for fictional films remains immense. But documentaries in the last 20 years have acquired enormous relevance. Michael Moore with his guerrilla documentaries became famous all over the world, making documentaries come out of the small niche they were in. More and more people prefer to watch documentaries that help them grow their awareness rather than watching fiction films.
10 documentaries on awareness of the reality that surrounds us
Immigration, racism, climate change, social problems, meeting other cultures, nature, a wide open window on the world that does not choose fiction as its main weapon. But that’s not always the case. Many documentaries, for example, proposed by the large streaming platforms have a very simple, television language, in some cases even didactic, but they are seen by millions of people because they deal with topics of great interest. Topicts that affect us all, such as documentaries on the awareness of one’s health and harmful food products on the market.
But documentaries can sometimes also be experimental cinema, cinematographic research and innovation of shapes and images. The contamination between documentary and fiction helps independent cinema to grow. While Neorealism filmed reality using a staged environment , even if the actors were non-professionals, today there is a tendency to use real reality even in fictional cinema, thanks to the use of very light and easily manoeuvrable cameras.
It takes more courage to shoot a documentarie, than to shoot a fictional film comfortably seated in the director’s chair. Because if it is true what Syd Field says that the essence of narration is conflict, then it is also true that conflict in reality does not want to be filmed. The documentarian goes in search of the conflict but instead of reconstructing and deepening it with fiction, he wants to portray it directly. Nothing more difficult.
The conflict in the world we live in is everywhere, But it hides very well. In the outer reality he wears masks and disguises. In the inner reality it hides in unknown abysses. In social relationships it often disguises itself as a conflict. Documentaries may not always give us memorable characters such as one’s in fictional cinema. But it can directly show us fragments of reality that in many cases exceed the fictional .
Discover, for example, with an investigative documentary, which are the mechanisms that greedy men create, and use, to enrich themselves and only offer death and destruction in exchange. Documentaries can bring awareness of the small daily rules and gestures that we must respect to save the planet. Documentaries can enlighten us by giving as a Better understanding of the social phenomenas that we have before our eyes every day but of which we have no awareness of.
Here 10 documentaries on awareness that raise awareness of the reality around us without giving up on exploring new avenues in audiovisual language.
1. Vegetable leather
An exciting documentary on the mysterious relationship between art and nature, between creativity and human relationships. The artist-farmer protagonist of the film has created a place to live in the nature of Sardinia, and hosts artists who create eco-compatible works that over time are transformed with Nature itself.
2. The smartphone woman
Officially it’s a fiction film. Although the parts shot with the smartphone are pure reality, a life diary, a documentary that has as its subject existence itself and its mysterious evolution. The smartphone woman mixing real actors and people, staging and impromptu shots that capture reality just as it manifests itself.
An extraordinary and innovative documentary on the dramatic effects of climate change on our planet, our home. In some ways it is reminiscent of Godfrey Reggio’s radical experimental film, Kyaanisqatsi, and it is all shot with aerial images. A flight around the world to discover how much harm has man done to the nature that created him.
4. Corona days
A film journal shot during the initial lockdown of the Corona virus pandemic. A docu fiction that tells the reality of that moment but also the inner world of the protagonist of the story. The elaboration of a mourning and of one’s past in the solitude of a deserted city. Shot with great ease, invention and feeling.
Another cine diary, another indie documentary film, but without any fiction. A pure chronicle of the reconstruction of the devastated lives of 3 friends after a dramatic earthquake. In search of a new identity there are those looking to find work and those who channel the drama they have to face through art and cinema.
6. Memories of Aushwitz
In search of a memory in a place where no one would think to look for it, on a tourist visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp. In Memories of Aushwitz the protagonist has spent the last years of his life between prison, drugs, communities and history books, neglecting his family. His brother, then, for his thirtieth birthday, decides to give him a train ride to Auschwitz.
The small village of Hampi was the capital of an empire that stretched across southern India. But with the ancient city fortifications in ruins, Hampi has few defenses against invading development forces. Over the past 15 years, tourism has grown by 75% and now threatens the lifestyle of the local community and the rich diversity of the wildlife living nearby.
In Ghana to help a poor village find its awareness and talents. This documentary tells us the story of Marieke de Lange who founded a traveling theater to empower disadvantaged children by staging plays in their communities that address issues relevant to their daily problems.
9. The last resort
A village on the island of Babitim, Indonesia is where she has chosen to plant her roots Andrew, a tropical paradise and crystal clear sea, perhaps the most beautiful in the world. But local fishermen slaughter sharks to sell their fins, and marine life is disappearing. The last resort is the story of the fight against the brutal realities of trawlers boats to create a protected area. A model for ocean conservation for the whole world.
10. Homer’s dream
The dreams of the blind and their imagination that turns into an almost mythological tale. Everyone records their dreams with a voice recorder, everyone becomes the character of the story that their unconscious wants to bring to the surface. A documentary of dreamlike and strongly evocative images.