Philippe Petit captured the world’s attention in 1974 when he successfully walked across a high wire between New York’s Twin Towers. This Oscar winner for Best Documentary explores the preparations that went into the stunt as well as the event and its aftermath. Obsessed with the towers even before they were fully constructed, Petit sneaked into the buildings several times to determine the equipment he needed to accomplish his daring feat.
Davis Guggenheim, creator of the Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth, directs this fascinating profile of three contemporary guitarists: Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, U2’s The Edge and Jack White of the White Stripes. Each talks about their creative process, technique and influences as cameras follow them to key locations in their own music history. A jam session featuring all three musicians is woven into their discussions.
Renowned nonfiction director Werner Herzog chronicles the tragic and untimely death of outdoorsman Timothy Treadwell, who devoted his life to studying grizzly bears living in the Alaskan wilderness — only to have one of them maul him to death. Pieced together mainly from Treadwell’s own video footage, this fascinating documentary goes deep into the wilderness of one man’s mind to uncover how he spent his final days.
This humorous documentary monitors the exploits of a group of jokester liberals who make names for themselves as they mimic members of the World Trade Organization at various venues across the globe. The absurd facade gets started when two members of The Yes Men create a web site that looks quite similar to the WTO site, resulting in the group being invited to high-level meetings and being mistaken for WTO officials.
British filmmaker Zana Briski’s Oscar-winning documentary is a portrait of several unforgettable children who live in Calcutta’s red-light district, where their mothers work as prostitutes to ensure their survival. Spurred by the kids’ fascination with her camera, Briski decides to teach them photography. As they begin to look at and record their world through new eyes, the kids awaken to their own talents and sense of worth.
Ordinary folks trade in their street clothes for medieval costumes, faux weaponry and full-contact battles in Andrew Neel and Luke Meyer’s documentary about Darkon, a group that acts out fantasy war games based on complex rules and customs. Neel and Meyer capture the drama as padded swords clash, armies advance and a ruler crosses the line, while off the battlefield, participants open up about what keeps them coming back for more.
Amid a volatile climate of ever-changing gas prices, this documentary delves into the short life of the GM EV1 electric car — a fuel-efficient auto that was once all the rage in the mid-1990s and now has fallen by the roadside. How could such a green-friendly vehicle fail to transform lives? Through interviews with government officials, former GM employees and concerned celebs, filmmaker Chris Paine seeks to find out.
Filmmaker Michael Moore (Sicko, Fahrenheit 9/11) takes on capitalism’s roots, the floundering U.S. economy, and 2008’s global financial meltdown and subsequent bank bailout in this rousing documentary. Combining stories about those who suffer most from Corporate America’s greed and insatiable thirst for profits and the people most responsible for myriad crises, Moore embarks on another shocking fact-finding rampage.
Michael Moore sets his sights on the plight of the uninsured in this Oscar-nominated documentary that uses Moore’s trademark humor and confrontational style to ask the difficult questions and get to the truth behind the health care crisis. In the world’s richest country, 45 million people have no health insurance, while HMOs grow in size and wealth. Moore also explores the widespread use of antidepressants and their possible link to violence.
Drawing on Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, director Robert Kenner’s provocative, Oscar-nominated documentary explores the food industry’s detrimental effects on our health and environment.