Five Antarctica Documentaries to Check Out

Antarctica remains one of the few underexplored areas of our planet. Its startling beauty and mystery belie dangerous cold and other perils. Neither stops explorers from traveling there, nor do they stop documentary makers from going with them. Check out these five documentaries about the southern-most continent. Encounters at the End of the World Directed… Read More Five Antarctica Documentaries to Check Out

‘Grizzly Man’ and the Filmmaker-Subject Relationship

Grizzly Man (2005) is as much about the filmmaker-subject relationship as it is about the subject himself. The subject is Timothy Treadwell, a bear enthusiast who spent 13 summers living among them and recording more than 100 hours of video with them and himself. Treadwell and his then-girlfriend Amie Huguenard met their untimely deaths when… Read More ‘Grizzly Man’ and the Filmmaker-Subject Relationship

Three Docs on Ice: Science, Spectacle, and Storytelling

Dena Seidel’s Antarctic Edge: 70 Degrees South recently became available on iTunes. Its topic and telling found me watching two other related documentaries: Chasing Ice and Encounters at the End of the World. All three address in part glaciers and climate change. What differs among them is their focuses on science, spectacle, and storytelling. Science… Read More Three Docs on Ice: Science, Spectacle, and Storytelling

Little Dieter Needs to Fly Recounts Harrowing War Experiences

Little Dieter Needs to Fly offers a recounting of Dieter Dengler’s harrowing experiences as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. Dengler was a German citizen who moved to the United States in order to pursue his dream of learning to fly. His inspiration came from the planes that flew over his village during… Read More Little Dieter Needs to Fly Recounts Harrowing War Experiences

A Look into the ‘Land of Silence and Darkness’

Land of Silence and Darkness begins as a portrait of Fini Straubinger, who had been deaf and blind since adolescence. After spending decades in bed, she began to experience life and to help others in the same situation. Central to her awakening was learning about finger spelling, which provides a means of communication for those… Read More A Look into the ‘Land of Silence and Darkness’

‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’ Seeks a Deeper Meaning

Like almost all of Werner Herzog’s documentaries, Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2011) operates on two levels: in this case the important discovery of the cave and the attempts at finding greater meanings therein. The important discovery is the Chauvet caves found in France in 1994. These caves featured paintings on the wall that were dated… Read More ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’ Seeks a Deeper Meaning

Werner Herzog Produces Anti-Texting and Driving PSA

Unless you watched the opening credits, you would not recognize From One Second to the Next (2013) as a Werner Herzog film. This short is a public service announcement sponsored by the four major cell phone companies in the United States about the outcomes of texting and driving. This short features a series of interviews… Read More Werner Herzog Produces Anti-Texting and Driving PSA

Herzog Delves ‘Into the Abyss’ of Capital Punishment

Into the Abyss (2011) is a look into the capital punishment system in Texas through the case of two teenagers who murdered three people for a car. Of the two teens, one entered a plea and received a lighter sentence, while the other received the death penalty. Into the Abyss is not a race-to-prevent-execution documentary,… Read More Herzog Delves ‘Into the Abyss’ of Capital Punishment

‘Ballad of the Little Soldier’ Tells Stories of the Child Soldiers

Ballad of the Little Soldier (1984) is a German-language documentary short about the situation facing the Miskito Indians in Nicaragua against the Sandinistas. Co-directed by Werner Herzog and journalist Denis Reichle, the documentary focuses primarily on the Miskito people’s stories. This short balances two parts, though neither is wholly separated from the other. Through interviews… Read More ‘Ballad of the Little Soldier’ Tells Stories of the Child Soldiers