Netflix Documentary Picks!

Monday, June 30, 2014

It seems like the best kind of nights in, the best way to spend a couple hours, and the best way to de-stress: the Netflix binge.

I love having instant streaming available on my laptop, phone, and iPad, and I use it frequently. How else did I get hooked on Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, Sherlock, and Doctor Who? However, I also like watching documentaries on Netflix, as there are some really interesting ones. These are my picks for watching a documentary on Netflix:

1. Blackfish
from here

This is probably one of the most popular documentaries on this list, as it has become a pretty big issue recently, especially after the death of a Sea World trainer only a few years ago. This documentary explores Orcas, or killer whales, in captivity, and talks to former employees and trainers who worked with the animals to try and figure out the detrimental effects of keeping large wild animals in captivity. 

2. First Position
from here

My mom was a ballet dancer, and she has taught me a lot about the ballet and instilled an appreciation for ballet in me. I love this documentary, because it shows just how hard ballet is both technically and physically, but also mentally and artistically. It follows young dancers and their preparation for an international ballet competition, where scholarships to prestigious schools and contracts with leading companies are on the line. 

3. Miss Representation
from here
If you consider yourself a feminist, then you've probably watched this documentary at least 5 times. If you don't consider yourself a feminist, then you might after you watch this documentary. If you can get past the crazy idea that feminism is about man-hating, then you may be able to glean something from this documentary.

Basically, this documentary explores how women are portrayed in the media, and how it differs so extremely from the reality that women face. It especially looks at how women are viewed in advertising and media as sexual playthings, and objects for men to try and obtain. It looks at ways that it affects young girls' self-esteem, and how men and women of all ages can fight against the negative images and empower young girls and boys and who they are, not who the media tries to force them to be. This is probably the most teach-y documentary on this list, and one that is probably the most relevant to everyone. I seriously encourage you, if you are going to watch this documentary, to watch it with an open mind and try and see their point of view. 

4. Jiro Dreams of Sushi
from here

Sushi. YUM. Just kidding, I don't really eat fish in Colorado. We don't touch an ocean. #notfreshfish

Anyways, this documentary is about Jiro Ono, a legendary sushi chef with a little restaurant in Tokyo. It's all about his beautiful (seriously - this sushi is actually pretty) sushi and sushi as an art form. It's another one of those artsy documentaries that I watched with my parents, but I like it! If I was in Tokyo and had $300 to spend on a dinner, I would definitely want to eat Jiro's sushi. 

5. Forgiving Dr. Mengele
from here

I saw this for the first time in my AP World History class in high school. I remember being really scared watching it. It tells the story of one of the twins that survived the Holocaust. When those who were rounded up and incarcerated in concentration camps, twins would often be singled out and experimented on. This documentary tells a story of an added layer of the immense brutality of the Holocaust. It is also a fascinating look at the idea of forgiveness in the face of unbearable pain. 

6. The Rape of Europa
from here
I watched this for the first time with my Dad, and I didn't appreciate it or really pay attention to it. I saw it again in my museum studies class, as we were discussing repatriation of works, particularly in the context of NAGPRA (Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act), but also how other objects and works of art have found their way into museums by less than legal means. It's an interesting look, especially if you are interested in the true story behind the Monuments Men (and not the less-than-stellar George Clooney dramatization). Really good if you love art, history, or WWII. 

7. The Square
from here

This is actually a Netflix original documentary, and it's pretty good. It tells the personal stories of young people who are active on the streets of Cairo during the Egyptian Revolution. It was nominated for Best Documentary in 2014. It gives great insight into the emotional ravages and intensity of the Revolution, as well as the power of people. 

8. Happy
from here

What makes us happy? That was the question that the makers of this documentary were trying to find the answers to. They went to many places, like Louisiana and Kolkata, to find answers to these questions. It is certainly interesting and inspiring to hear these stories, and to hear different ideas about how to find the ever-elusive happiness we all crave and aspire to. 

9. Sound and Fury
from here

I watched this documentary the first time when I was writing a mini-ethnography for a cultural anthropology class about the artwork of the Deaf community - more specifically the work of the De'VIA movement (look it up - it's really cool stuff). A lot of the artwork that I was studying had references to Cochlear implants, and I didn't really understand the debate. Although this documentary is kind of old, the issue and the feelings surrounding Cochlear implants are debates that are still prevalent in the Deaf community today, and it gives you a good idea about the kinds of things that people who have disabilities must grapple with. 

10. Helvetica
from here

Who would have thought that the design of fonts would be so interesting? Unless you work in a field where aesthetically pleasing documents are important, you probably don't think much of your font choices. This documentary gives us a look at the design of a font, Helvetica, and what makes fonts popular or good to use.

Are these picks some of your favorites? What other documentaries are on your Netflix List?

Thanks for reading!


1 comment:

  1. Great picks!