Almost a week after attending the Silverdocs film festival, I am still thinking about “Racing Dreams” (full disclosure: my friend worked on the film). As Hollywood produces uninspired remakes and formulaic flicks featuring stale caricatures, the documentary film world serves up much more engrossing fare. Since I tired of the rom-com and bromance genres long ago – and what else is there? – the Netflix queue is comprised largely of documentaries.
The documentary is my favorite method of storytelling. I love getting a glimpse into the worlds of three-dimensional “characters” whose lives are often deemed unimportant and whose stories are seldom told. It’s refreshing to see diverse bodies represented on screen, too, and not just for laughs. Some people are fat. Some people have disabilities. Some people have frizzy hair. Big deal. Women are not just hookers, victims and doormats*; they’re themselves.
Some of my personal favorites tell stories around children, including “Racing Dreams,” which follows three kids – two boys and a girl – for a year as they compete in Extreme Kart Racing. Kids are as diverse and complex as adults, but rich kids planning their Super Sweet 16 parties dominate the entertainment-about-kids market. I am also crazy about This American Life, in both radio and television formats.
So tell me: What documentaries do you recommend? It’s time to update the queue.
*Shirley MacLaine adage about good parts for actresses falling into one of these three categories.