Our coolest subscribers will have spotted that Something Real has been put on ice for a spell. While our doc-endorsing digits thaw out fully in time for the New Year, wrap up warm to discover two frosty films brought in for you from the cold.
The original record of Irvine and Mallory's doomed Everest expedition of 1924, crafted from beautifully restored footage and set to a specially commissioned new score.
Where we grow, the spaces we share and the streets we walk shape who we are. We in turn decorate the character of that place. See this NYT article on a New York state of mind, and these incredible portraits of the city's people.
A beautiful, vibrant record of a largely Puerto Rican & Dominican community in South Brooklyn of the 1980s.
Dir. Diego Echeverria (1984)
A real-life thriller, (T)ERROR is the first documentary to place filmmakers on the ground during a live FBI counterterrorism sting operation.
Dirs. Lyric R. Cabral & David Felix Sutcliffe (2015)
It's been a busy few weeks in filmlandia with some directors collecting gongs at The Emmys and others launching Oscar campaigns at TIFF. Behind all this polished metal are people who love making and talking about film. Here are some to watch tonight.
A love letter to cinema and two if its renowned talents. This illuminating documentary explores the art and influence of Alfred Hitchcock through his famed 1962 interview with French auteur François Truffaut.
Dir. Kent Jones (2016)
A documentary film that recounts the inspiring and entertaining life of world-renowned film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert – a story that is by turns personal, funny, painful, and transcendent.
Dir. Steve James (2014)
The perilous state of existence for refugees trying to reach Britain has only worsened in recent weeks. These two stories document the trials of movement and recognition of migrants.
A six-part documentary about the dangerous paths of Syrian asylum seekers in the E.U.
Dir. Matthew Cassel (2016)
A recent study suggests that our trust in the words we read is affected by how they are printed. Get to know your Arial from your Optima this weekend.
A film about a typeface that delves into the world of graphic arts and takes a deeper look into style changes and the controversies over the role of graphic designer since World War II.
Dir. Gary Hustwit (2007)
A deeply moving documentary about reconciliation and justice in the Lebanon, bringing two people together whose lives have been changed forever by the civil war.
Dir. Eliane Raheb (2012)
'In the great prison where I was then incarcerated, I was merely the figure and the letter of a little cell in a long gallery. One of a thousand lifeless numbers, as of a thousand lifeless lives.' – Oscar Wilde. Inspired by a series of prison reading events we are serving two lock and key docs.
A riveting examination of a horrible crime which probes the human psyche to explore why people kill and why the state kills.
Dir. Werner Herzog (2011)
Texas is a State of complexity and controversy. Dovetail these two deep south tales into your weekend for some poetically solid enlightenment.
For decades, two towns on opposite sides of the Texas-Mexico border have coexisted quietly, but encroaching drug-related violence threatens the peace.
Dirs. Bill and Turner Ross (2015)
As summer stretches its jaw from eyefuls of ice-cream to BBQ banquets, diet fever is served up in new plans, books, and apps. Get your teeth into these two beefy shock docs!
This eye-opening film reveals what happens when actor and director Damon Gameau adopts a diet high in refined sugar for 60 days, to the detriment of his physical, emotional and mental well-being.
Dir. Damon Gameau (2014)
It's music festival season and fields are filled with bodies moved by summer sounds. If you aren't the outdoorsy type, pitch a tent in your living room, burn some gigabytes and stream these bangers.
An inventive, lyrical ode to creativity and an intimate examination of the artistic process of musician and cultural icon Nick Cave.
Dirs. Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard (2014)
This intimate and inventive portrait uses material from the Cobains' personal archives in an in-depth examination of the Nirvana frontman's childhood, music career and untimely death.
Dir. Brett Morgen (2015)
Solidarity marches across the US and UK have illuminated protests after the latest police shootings of black men in US. Stay informed by watching these two moving stories of recent protest and injustice.
Reveals the deep racial prejudices and tragedies that ensue as a result through the murder of Jordan Davis and trial of shooter Michael Dunn.
Dir. Marc Silver (2015)
A series of racist acts prompts three University of Missouri students to pick up cameras and take us inside a peaceful student movement whose protests brought down the college president.
Dirs. Adam Dietrich, Varun Bajaj, Kellan Marvin (2016)
A legal case deciding the right to access abortion clinics in Texas concluded this week, prompting wider actions across America to repeal restrictions. These two hard-hitting docs explore the ethical and moral struggles of the right to abort.
A sea captain navigates through loopholes in international law to provide abortions on the high seas.
Dir. Diana Whitten (2014)
This week we are saying flixit to the Brexit with a composition of two constitutional conundrums. Sit back and vote with your remote.
After Zimbabwe's disputed 2008 election results, political enemies are asked to write a new constitution and save their country from a bleak future.
Dir. Camilla Nielsson (2015)
After the passing of one boxing legend, we're floating a couple butterflies that sting like bees over your way. Enjoy round 1 and 2 on us.
An intimate coming-of-age story about a new kind of American heroine. Claressa “T-Rex” Shields is the youngest female boxer fighting for gold at the 2012 Olympics.
Dirs. Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari (2015)
A pseudo anthropological study of a man and a woman, both labelled 'the perfect human'. Each 'functioning' in a white boundless room, as though they were subjects in a zoo.
Jorgen Leth (1967)
Middlefart is an entirely mediocre place. From stories about civil disobedience to the mayor's visit to a fortune teller, the individual scenes of this film serve as display cabinets at a virtual museum about ordinary Denmark in the year 2011
Dir. Michael Madsen (2011)
After discovering one of Prince's fine and secret gestures, this week's watchlist is a double-bill of goodwill.
A high-spirited runaway boy in Pakistan tries to find his way back home from the orphanage in which he lives, aided by a sympathetic ambulance driver.
Dirs. Omar Mullick, Bassam Tariq (2013)
The enlightening story of the Soviet Union's famed Red Army hockey team through the eyes of its players.
Dir. Gabe Polsky (2014)
Little introduction is needed to the father's of modern hip-hop featured in this week's recommended docs, but we do want to share this piece paying ode to mothers of great rappers.
An adventure into the mind of Popa Wu, the patriarch of the world renown rap group Wu Tang Clan.
Dir. Khalik Allah (2010)
A crazy season in the English top football league came to an end this week with outsiders Leicester City defying 5000-1 odds to claim the title. Here are two more sporting stories of underdogs finding their feet.
Dutch coach Thomas Rongen attempts the nearly impossible task of turning the American Samoa soccer team from perennial losers into winners.
Dirs. Mike Brett, Steve Jamison (2014)
A gripping insight into the dirty business behind the beautiful game: In 2007, investors buy the bottom-ranked Queens Park Rangers soccer team and launch an ambitious plan to promote them to the Premier League.
Dir. Mat Hodgson (2011)
Photographer Edward Burtynsky explores the ways in which humanity has shaped, manipulated and depleted one of its most vital and compromised resources: water.
Dirs. Edward Burtynsky & Jennifer Baichwal (2014)
Three families live in a village partially submerged by water in Northwestern Mexico. Despite their loneliness and fear, they refuse to leave.
Dir. Betzabé García (2015)
As the New York's political wheels begin to turn, we offer two primary supplementaries documenting America and its discontents.
In the tiny town of Williston, North Dakota, tens of thousands of unemployed hopefuls show up with dreams of honest work and a big paycheck under the lure of the oil boom.
Dir. Jesse Moss (2014)
Anchored by a series of interviews with Noam Chomsky, this definitive documentary of the “Two Americas” is an unvarnished account of how policies have helped concentrate wealth in the hands of a few at expense of everyone else.
Dirs. Peter Hutchison, Kelly Nyks, Jared P. Scott (2015)
After a short Spring break Something Real is back with some brain food. So put your mind to the matter by tuning into this contemporary and classic doc platter.
After suffering a stroke at age 34, a woman documents her struggles, setbacks and eventual breakthrough as she relearns to speak, read and write.
Dirs. Lotje Sodderland, Sophie Robinson (2015)
Today the Orwell prize announced a profound shortlist of works that make political writing an artform. Thus we are sharing two political and pensive artworks addressing the subject of justice.
A family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered, as well as the identities of the killers. This unprecedented film initiates and bears witness to the collapse of fifty years of silence.
Dir. Joshua Oppenheimer (2014)
After an enlightening visit to Laura Poitras’ first solo museum show at the Whitney, we're following up with two chilling new visions of government, technology and security.
The film that begins with Edward Snowden’s decision to reveal evidence of mass surveillance by the National Security Agency and charts the events that followed.
Dir. Laura Poitras (2014)
In 1968, ideological opposites William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal hold a series of riveting, nationally televised debates that usher in a new era of public discourse and pundit TV.
Dirs. Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville (2015)
This visually sobering documentary outlines Africa's long struggle against colonial domination and the continent's continued exploitation.
Dir. Göran Hugo Olsson (2013)
Take time out from talk of who will be pipped to the post at the upcoming Oscars with these two top docs about reaching the finish line.
A heart-racing gallop into the notoriously closed world of this ancient horse race and the larger-than-life people involved.
Dir. Cosima Spender (2015)
Dirs. Dan Rybicky and Aaron Wickenden (2014)
For several decades, gifted and incredibly prolific forger Mark Landis compulsively created impeccable copies of works by a variety of major artists, donating them to institutions across the country and landing pieces on many of their walls.
Dirs. Sam Cullman, Jennifer Grausman, Mark Becker (2014)
This London exhibition has us thinking about how community is defined by our attempts to create it. If a raucous NYE still has you creeping past your neighbours’ doors, put post-party tensions to rest by offering your cohabitants a consolatory film night containing these two small-town greats.
The result of McElwee turning his camera on his family and their neighbors, this film is a humorous and poignant look at odd moments in a genteel Southern USA town.
Dir. Ross McElwee (1984)
A new year is a wonderful excuse to indulge your quill in the crisp white pages of a pocket diary. Perhaps our journals will be more mundane than those of Samuel Pepys, but as these two films show: the very act of recording life can be an event in itself.
In 1977, Sam Klemke started obsessively documenting his entire life on film. Beginning decades before the modern obsession with selfies and status updates, we see Sam grow from an optimistic teen to a self-important 20 year old, into an obese, self-loathing 30-something and onwards into his philosophical 50s creating a strange and intimate portrait of what it means to be human.
Dir. Matthew Bate (2015)
For the last eight years, Ida has kept a video diary in order to ease her mind and structure her thoughts. In her diary we get a unique insight into a world of fear and anxiety, but also precious moments of everyday victories and self-discovery.
Dir. August B. Hanssen (2014)
The recent passing of two great cinematographers made us think about incredible lives behind the camera and beyond the images on the screen. Here are two great documentaries about the madness and the making of movies.
Mohsen Makhmalbaf gives an advertisement in the newspapers and informs those who are interested in acting that in a test some of them would be chosen for making a movie on the occasion of the hundredth year of the birth of the Cinema. The result is a compelling portrait of Iran and our obsession with movies.
Dir. Mohsen Makhmalbaf (1995)
Troll 2 star Michael Stephenson steps behind the camera to explore the phenomenon behind the low-budget Italian-produced horror sequel that young movie fanatics have christened "the Rocky Horror of our generation" in this documentary which proves that just because a movie is awful doesn't mean it won't find an audience.
Dir. Michael Stephenson (2009)