The documentaries to see in 2017
Following a rather turbulent 2016, which saw the rise of Trump and untimely deaths of creative powerhouses such as David Bowie, Carrie Fisher and Prince, 2017's filmmakers have a lot to say. Here are our five documentaries to look out for this year.
Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds
“I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.” - Carrie Fisher, Wishful Drinking
Carrie Fisher, writer, advocate of mental health, sometimes Princess Leia and at all times comedian joined the mournful list of 2016's departed. Sadly, Hollywood star and Carrie’s mother Debbie Reynolds died soon afterwards. The newest HBO documentary reveals the female icons’ personal struggles over the years and because of it their unyielding bond. Whether you remember them for their unapologetic feminism, strides in mental health, activism for LGBT equality, or their roles on stage and screen, we have a lot to thank them for
Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds is out now on Sky Atlantic and Amazon Video.
Dancer documents the life of Sergei Polunin, one of the most gifted ballet dancers of all time. This film does not ask you to be expert in the world of dance but it does you to examine the capabilities of the human will and the allure of self-destruction. Dancer shows how Polunin, once the principle dancer for the English Royal Ballet and whose family sacrificed everything, ventured down a route of self-harm and drug addiction, seemingly leaving the world of ballet forever.
Dancer will be released 10th March 2017 by BBC.
Beware the Slenderman
This HBO documentary tells the real story of two thirteen-year-old girls who stabbed a classmate nineteen times to prevent the ‘Slenderman’ – a paranormal, internet myth with no facial features – from killing their families. This documentary is set to show, that through the persuasive powers of the internet, perhaps we are all prone to blur the lines between fabrication and reality. The documentary does not have a UK release date yet but it is only a matter of time.
As you may be able to tell, this top five list chronicles the less obvious, but no doubt entertaining documentary choices - Cameraperson is no different. Displaying the world behind the camera, Cameraperson is a memoir for photographer Kirsten Johnson. The documentary reveals her previously unseen shots of the world. Acting as sort of flipbook for human triumphs. The film will take you through the birth of a child in remote villages and tense boxing finales to the not so triumphant, but still human, effects of war.
This film is a love letter to those who document the news, make biographic films, and pass on visual stories from country to country. Cameraperson looks to bring the reality of war from your screen to you moral conscience.
Cameraperson is out now.
I am Not Your Negro
I am Not Your Negro is inspired by the work of James Baldwin, including the unpublished and unfinished manuscript ‘Notes Toward Remember This House’. The documentary shows us the impact the death of revolutionaries such as Martin Luther King Jr, Medgar Evers and Malcolm X had on Baldwin and the civil rights movements as a whole. Samuel L. Jackson voices Baldwin in this rousing documentary of resistance to an empire of discrimination and hate that will likely move us all to continue to strive for better. It is baffling that over 50 years on from the African-American Civil Rights movement, there’s still a need for Black Lives Matter groups and anti-racism protest rallies.
I am Not Your Negro is released 7 April 2017.