Best Documentaries of 2015; My Picks

The Bear Awards (my blog’s awards) has almost come to an end. Just one more category which is Best Animated Film! I’ve just finished watching the last of the nominated documentaries so here’s who I think should be nominated and who should win. Don’t be too sad, Bear Awards will make a return next year!! Little Bear’s a huge film buff and will continue to review movies because of all the support you guys have been giving! Are you excited for the Oscars??! You better be, we are less than 36 hours away!

The 5 documentaries nominated this year were extremely depressing. But who makes a film about life being a bed of roses. It is only through grief and feeling aggreived about something that sparks the need for awareness and education. With so much injustice in the world and personalities whose lives encapsulate more than they could have handled, documentaries serve as a powerful viewing experience. It’s enlightening and shows you that there’s life at stake everyday. That’s certainly the trend in this year’s docus: Two docs about jazz singers and their damaging alienation, one about a nation’s collective resolve in fighting a corrupt regime, one about the victim’s confrontation of the perpertrators of a genocide and the last about the drug war’s thickening evil that bastardizes any attempts to bring justice. Really really sad and powerful is all I can say. Kudos to the film-makers and crew who put themselves on the line, literally in the battlefield and at risk of being killed or caught, to bring at whatever light they can to the world.

Check out the Director’s roundtable below to hear of their life-changing experiences.

 

Nominees for the Bear Award:

Amy

amy blue and red.jpg

A documentary that charts the rise and fall of Amy Winehouse in her own words. What makes it really special is that it rarely shys away from anything. It’s told through her own words and from the people around her, so it definitely gives an experience like none other. Her life may have been tumultuous, especially since her troubled past never let go and fame only mounted pressure on her fragility, but her music has stayed true and touched us all. Rating: 9/10, full review here

 

Cartel Land

cartel land

At the end, you feel so dreadful and unable to do a single thing. Cartel Land follows the story of Dr.Mireles and how he set up the ‘auto-defensas’, a civilian formed vigilante group that help defends his people from gang terror, kidnappings, raids and killings. I’m not going to spoil anything for you, but it feels like there’s a lot of vested interest between the cartels and the government run by Nieto, whose regime is more concerned with maintaining status quo and alliances than to actually serve its citizens. This is one excruciating documentary that shows juts how corrupt corrupt can get. Rating 9/10

 

The Look Of Silence

the look of silence adi

 

It’s painful to watch and one that’s so nilhilistic. Unlike a glimmer of hope provided in the other docs, IT DOESN’T MATTER IF IT”S JUST A SLIVER, A LITTLE…SOMETHING TO HOLD ON TO, The Look Of Silence provides no reprieve. Adi’s futile attempts to seek reconciliation is instead met with more disgusting justifications for the perpertrator’s crimes. Watch it to know the degree of suffering some people can face and the atrocities that other men can even be proud of. Rating: 8/10, full review here

 

What Happened, Miss Simone?

what happened miss simone carnegie hall.jpg

Miss Simone is a jazz legend. But this doc isn’t about glorifying her life. In fact, she was a struggling artist for much of her life. Brought up with racial and social discrimination, the doc shows how she later went on to fight for the Civil Right’s movement. But I think what the doc really tries to portray was how real the fight was for Nina Simone, who had a problem finding worth and value outside her public persona. And when the internal frame of mind, her home, marriage and family is one that begins to go astray, her fight for peace for both herself and for her people is one that’s tragic but also valiant. Rating: 8.5/10

 

Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom

Ukraine Maidan Anniversary

One nation, under smog. This is the perspective of the ukrainian protests that lasted 93 days from 2013 to 2014. It cuts away the political abstractions and gives a solely detailed account of how the people’s peaceful protests erupted into a violent war between the government and its citizens. Among its people, you’ll find concerned citizens who fear for their lives but continue to band together amidst the fires and cold winters to fight for freedom. Rating 9.5/10, full review here

Nominees once more:

Amy

Cartel Land

The Look Of Silence

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom

 

Winner-

Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom

Winter on fire, molotive cocktail

I found it to be a difficult watch, like the rest, but it was an inspirational story which can’t really be said for the others. This one’s different. By focusing solely on the citizen’s perspective, Evgeny Afineevsky risks bias. But it doesn’t even go there. It deals with what’s been shadowed by the media and finds many heartbreaking truths in the collective trauma. A national identity is being shifted completely by just a handful of protestors on day 1. A nation’s resolve is birthed from injustice. Whether you’re a cleaner, salesgirl, lawyer, teacher, engineer, foreman, student or a father, son, mother or a retiree, worker, gay, lesbian, catholic, christian or free-thinker, Afineevsky shows that people have more heart than you think. They identify more than they divide in a time where their government inspires so much less. Afineevsky and crew risk their life on the battlefield to film of people who would readily risk their lives for their fellow ukrainians for a common cause. Absolutely outstanding stuff.

 

 

 

 

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Keith says:

    The winner is the one I haven’t seen. I’m a huge fan of The Look of Silence. I really like The Act of Killing but this one strikes on a much more personal level. Powerful stuff. I also really liked Meru. Did you get to see that one?

    Like

    1. jwforeva says:

      Nope, I haven’t seen it, I also intend to watch the hunting ground! You should watch it!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. John Charet says:

    I have not seen any of them, but I feel that Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, Hitchcock/Truffaut and Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles were unfairly overlooked. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. jwforeva says:

      I see, I’ll have to check them out when I can! Maybe its because they didn’t have that big studio supporting them…which happens so many times. So frustrating that good films are always overlooked like that.

      Like

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