There is something mysterious and alluring about the unknown. Many of us have a fascination with the unknown, leading us to explore and investigate until we uncover the truth. Luckily, there is no shortage of amazing documentaries that provide us with full access to the unknown. Here are 7 legendary documentary films that can provide an unprecedented look at the unknown.
The first documentary on the list is the classic ‘Koyaanisqatsi’, directed by Godfrey Reggio. With beautiful and mesmerizing visuals, it dives deep into the life cycle of modern man and explores the clash between nature and civilization. The film is an excellent example of slow-motion documentary filmmaking, blending science, religion and philosophy to provide a unique and unparalleled look at our world.
Another must-watch documentary is ‘The Act of Killing’, directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn and Anne Wilkins. This documentary is about the 1965–1966 Indonesian mass killings, where hundreds of thousands of individuals were brutally murdered. Needless to say, this is an incredibly powerful documentary that sheds light on a dark chapter of history and provides full access to the unknown.
Rounding off the list of legendary documentaries is ‘Dark Days’, directed by Marc Singer. This is a truly remarkable film that centers around a small community of homeless people who created a makeshift village deep inside a train tunnel beneath the streets of New York City. Featuring stunning cinematography and sincere interviews, ‘Dark Days’ is an emotionally captivating and thought-provoking experience for viewers.
The Unseen Consequences of War
One particular unknown that many people want to explore is the aftermath of war. The documentary ‘Restrepo’, directed by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, provides full access to the effects of war, focusing on a U.S. Army platoon that was stationed in the deadliest valley in Afghanistan. The film follows the platoon as they tackle the bleak and hostile environment while highlighting the unseen consequences of war. It’s a moving and powerful documentary that’s sure to leave an impression.
Another documentary that explores war is ‘The Look of Silence’. Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, this film focuses on a man who seeks answers about his brother’s death during the Indonesian mass killings. Through interviews withwar veterans, eyewitnesses and perpetrators, the man uncovers the truth about his brother’s death, providing viewers a heartbreaking and rare insight into the effects of war.
Finally, for a different take on war, there’s ‘Seymour: An Introduction’. Directed by Ethan Hawke, this documentary focuses on the life of 92-year-old Seymour Bernstein, an accomplished music teacher and war veteran who battled depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Packed with heartwarming moments and uplifting dialogue, this incredible documentary provides a unique look at the consequences of war and offers hope that it’s never too late to make a change.
The Wonders of Nature
One particular unknown that piques our curiosity is nature. Documentaries such as ‘Grizzly Man’, directed by Werner Herzog, provide a look at the wonders of nature. The film follows the story of Timothy Treadwell, an environmentalistand ‘grizzlyman’ who devoted his life to protecting bears in the forests of Alaska. Through his story, we get to experience the mysteries of nature and some of the amazing creatures that live within.
Another documentary that captures the wonders of nature is ‘When Whales Walked’, directed by David Clark. This fascinating and educational documentary explores the unknown of the ancient past, focusing on the period when whales evolved from land-based creatures to aquatic beings. With interviews from renowned marine biologists and entertaining visuals, the documentary offers a unique look at the past and some of the incredible creatures that lived during that time.
Finally, there’s the visually stunning documentary ‘Microcosmos’, directed by Claude Nuridsany and Marie Pérennou. This documentary provides viewers with unprecedented access to the hidden world of insects, allowing us to observe their fascinating behaviors and habits such as feeding, mating and fighting. It’s a truly remarkable experience that offers an exciting peek into the unknown.