The 52 Focus: Documentaries

52 Films is very excited that our first feature-length documentary The Amber Light is currently in post-production. Making The Amber Light has been a wonderful experience for the team, taking them across the lowlands, highlands and islands of Scotland (and sampling more than a wee dram along the way). And while we’ve been busy with our own feature-length production, it seems that elsewhere there’s a must-see feature doc on the big or small screen every week. In honour of The Amber Light’s first-view screening in April here are five documentaries that we have recently enjoyed and recommend checking out:
  • RBG – an inspiring profile of the “Notorious RBG” aka Ruth Bader Ginsburg, gender-equality activist and 85 year-old US Supreme Court Justice (whilst her intelligence and quiet grace shines throughout, the footage of her working out in the gym with her trainer is awesome) – catch it on the big screen while it’s still out or stream online
  • Bros: After the Screaming Stops – a surprisingly touching look at the 80s/90s twin brother boy band sensation. The first half is cringingly funny (think Spinal Tap crossed with David Brent), the second half is a poignant portrait of two siblings reuniting – available for a few more weeks on BBC iPlayer
  • FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened – a fascinating expose of the story behind the infamous Fyre Festival available on Netflix  (NB this is currently one of two documentaries about the failed festival, the second is available on Hulu but controversially paid the fraudster Fyre founder Billy McFarland for an interview, a bit of background here)
  • Free Solo – you don’t have to be interested in climbing to enjoy this film which follows Alex Honnold as he attempts to free solo climb the 3,000ft El Capitan vertical rock face in Yosemite, California. Not only does it contain spectacular footage (watch out if you’ve got a touch of vertigo), it is a fascinating study into Honnold’s psychology as well as the physical and artistic challenge for the filmmakers. Catch it while you can at the cinema or watch at home
  • Wormwood – if anybody could be considered a master of documentary craft, it’s Errol Morris. In his latest work, a limited series for Netflix, he investigates shady goings on at the CIA through the use of dramatic reenactments to support his signature, individualistic style. Watch on Netflix.
And we’ve got one final recommendation for you – whilst it’s not a standalone film, we’re currently enjoying The Clinton Affair (available on More4). It’s a comprehensive look at the events leading up to the impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998 and seems decidedly timely with the ongoing debates around power and consent.

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