With an international political climate encompassing everything from Trump to terrorism, a multitude of people eager to galvanise and draw attention to social issues, and the plethora of information and misinformation on the internet, there’s never been a more important time to become more politically savvy. And with streaming services, there’s an easy way to do that – watch a documentary or two. We’ve gathered a small selection of them here to pique your interest:
The Internet’s Own Boy
Reddit co-founder, contributor to the development of Creative Commons and RSS, and a passionate anti-SOPA activist, Aaron Swartz was an internet-based golden child. After his suicide in 2013, Brian Knappenberger took on the task of documenting his life through interviews with loved ones, and old footage. The film is both a gentle look at the life of someone well-loved and the instigator of questions around the intersection of internet usage and the law.
Get Me Roger Stone
Trump’s election in 2016 was definitely a moment of confusion for people all around the world: how did a billionaire reality TV host with outlandish and outdated ideas ever become President of the United States? Get Me Roger Stone has at least part of the answer, with its look into the life of Roger Stone, advisor to Donald Trump. He’s much more than that, however – and this documentary will tell you all you need to know about the man, who’s infamous for being relentless, more than a bit awful, and the driving force behind scores of controversial political campaigns.
Under The Sun
Whenever people mention North Korea, they’re more often than not talking about Kim Jong-un, or the horrific conditions endured by those who transpire against the nation. Not many end up talking about the ordinary North Korean citizen – which is exactly what Vitaly Mansky discusses in his 2015 documentary, Under the Sun. For anyone wondering what truly happens in the controversial nation, this film is essential viewing.
Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 is several things: a controversial and questionably accurate look at George W. Bush and 9/11, a criticism of media coverage, and the highest grossing documentary of all time. With a reputation like that, it’s hard to find reasons not to watch this. There’s even a sequel of sorts, critiquing the current political climate of America.
An Inconvenient Truth
Al Gore, former U.S. Vice President, took to the stage on an issue that’s no less prevalent today than it was on the film’s release in 2006. A filmic version of Al Gore’s comprehensive presentation on climate change, the film is notable both for its in-depth consideration of science (although some details need revising or further consideration) and for the reception it received – it made a great impact on the general public’s awareness of global warming.
Bobby Sands: 66 Days
It takes a lot of determination to willingly go hungry, but many Irish prisoners committed to it in protest of the removal of Special Category Status for paramilitary prisoners, which previously allowed them freedoms and rights not accessible to regular prisoners. One of those was Bobby Sands, who passed away 66 days after beginning his hunger strike – this film takes a look back to those days.
The Act Of Killing
This one seems too shocking to be non-fictional – and it sort of is. Focusing on the Indonesian mass killings of 1965-66, filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer tasked Anwar Congo with an unusual task: to recreate scenes of Anwar’s murders for the cameras. The sheer horror of both the fictional depictions and the actual events combine to contribute to a moral conundrum: can someone really atone for being a murderer?
Where To Invade Next
The U.S. often prides itself on being the greatest country in the world, but Michael Moore chanced to disagree. Known for making outrageous documentaries, he took to the streets of Europe under the pretence of figuring out where Americans should ‘invade next’, pretending to stake his claim while offering a considered look at successful social, political, and economic systems. It’s as hilarious as it is intriguing, so it’s definitely worth a watch.
(Feature image: Niyazz/Shutterstock)