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1. 'Man with a Movie Camera' - Dziga Vertov
Man with a Movie Camera is one of the most interesting and pioneering documentaries ever made. Created by Polish Director Dziga Vertov in the late 1920s, Man with a Movie Camera reinvented the documentary, putting stories and messages where there had previously been none. Not only was this new and innovative but is also extremely interesting, using montage and overlaying (extremely impressive for its day), this piece shows us how much of an art form filmmaking really is.
2. 'Whiplash' - Damien Chazelle
Drama can be one of the hardest genres to write, often feeling slow and laborious but Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash is a phenomenal example of how gripping and intense the genre can be. In the film, we see the story of Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller), an aspiring drummer whose talent is noticed by the renowned music teacher Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) which leads Neiman to push himself further than ever before in order to achieve his dream. Whiplash will change the way you see the drama genre and you’ll definitely have learned the difference between rushing and dragging by the end.
3. 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople' – Taika Waititi
After watching the recent installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor: Ragnarok, I felt myself longing for more and not wanting to wait until April for the next chapter in Thor’s story, I found myself scrolling through Waititi’s IMDB searching for something to fulfill my hunger, Hunt for the Wilderpeople was that film. Although not quite the action-packed narrative to match the likes of Ragnarok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a wonderfully comedic story of an adventure with an unlikely pairing between old man Hec and 13-year-old Ricky, who find themselves wandering through the New Zealand bush as things spiral out of control. This film so seamlessly and effortlessly brings all of its characters to life, leading you to feel as though you are also on this adventure with this pair and through its gentle mix of comedy, drama, and adventure, you learn to love these characters as the story develops.
4. 'City of Ghosts' – Mathew Heineman
City of Ghosts is by far one of the rawest and most moving documentaries I’ve ever seen. In a world in which news is at the touch of a button almost 24 hours a day, it’s so easy to forget what’s going on in the world. City of Ghosts not only reminds us of one of the biggest issues occurring in our time but also gives us a vivid insight into the lives of those around it. We, as an audience, are taken through the story of the journalists writing for ‘Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently’, a news source reporting the terrors of the Syrian city of Raqqa after its takeover by ISIS in 2014. We are shown the ways in which these journalists risk their lives in order to report to the outside world and through this, we’re not treated as children needing to be shielded from the atrocities occurring, we are shown as those reporting are shown, creating an incredibly moving and insightful piece.
5. 'The Social Network' - David Fincher
If someone told you they were making a film about the creation of a social networking site, you would probably expect an incredibly boring and slow piece. However, The Social Network is anything but. We’re told the story of a young Mark Zuckerberg and his trials in making the now internationally renowned social network site Facebook. We see his legal battle, not only with ‘enemies’ of his but also friends, because, despite its title, the film's true narrative is of human interaction and the corrosion of friendships through greed. All of this, written by the masterful Aaron Sorkin, makes for a captivating watch.
All of these films excel in exceedingly different ways and deliver narratives to the audience astonishingly well, taking them on amazing journeys. However, these are just five of an infinitely expansive choice of films so, what films would you choose?