I watched plenty of films in May and a significant number of them were documentaries. I watched the wonderful Bill Cunningham New York at the start of the month and was reminded how effective and engaging a feature documentary can be.
I was spurred on to watch a few that had been sitting in my ‘to watch’ pile for some time as well as seeking out a few of the big-hitters from the last few years.
Here is a run down on the films I enjoyed most during May.
A documentary that follows Brazilian artist Vik Muniz as he seeks to use art to raise the profile of workers at Jardim Gramacho, one of the world’s largest landfills. His work has a surprising effect on the people involved and this documentary serves as an interesting peek into the world of some people who might otherwise have slipped through the cracks.
Everything Must Go (2010)
A rare dramatic turn from Will Ferrell, who stars as a alcoholic kicked out of his house by his wife. He exists in an odd netherworld, living on the front lawn, amongst his worldly possessions, which he is ultimately forced to try and sell. A fantastically understated performance from Ferrell makes this a film worth watching.
The Interrupters (2011)
A fascinating look at some incredible people, the ‘violence interrupters’ of Chicago. Having escaped from a life of violence, these people have dedicated themselves to reducing violence and death within the inner-city youth communities.
21 Jump Street (2012)
Very entertaining comedy movie about two undercover cops who have to return to high school. Ridiculous, but very entertaining.
God Grew Tired of Us (2006)
An emotional look at the Lost Boys of Sudan, some of who moved to the U.S. after fleeing their country as children and living for years in neighbouring countries.
Bill Cunningham New York (2010)
Who would have thought that a documentary about a New York fashion photographer could be this affecting. A portrait of a fascinating man intent on capturing the fashion trends of the streets of New York, all the while leading a virtually hermetic lifestyle in a tiny apartment in Carnegie Hall.
Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
This might seem on the surface to be a nostalgic look at the lives of young people (think Dazed and Confused, but for the eighties), but it quickly becomes apparent that Wet Hot American Summer is more subversive than that. It was odd enough to leave me confused as to what level I enjoyed it on, but I definitely laughed.
The Ides of March (2011)
A young campaign staffer finds out what you have to be prepared to do in order to succeed in politics. Powerful politic drama from director George Clooney, with an excellent cast including Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti and Philip Seymour Hoffman.