Monday, September 19, 2011

50 documentaries to see before you die

Posted By on Mon, Sep 19, 2011 at 2:40 PM

A friend recently turned me on to Current TV's list/series on 50 documentaries to see before you die. My friend had seen 16 of the films. I had seen 35, and realized the high number had less to do with my available free time and much more to do with the exceptional programming of our local Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.

Hoop Dreams (1994)
  • Hoop Dreams (1994)

Among the documentaries that made Current's list and have screened during the festival are The King of Kong, Brother's Keeper and Paradise Lost (both part of the 2009 Joe Berlinger retrospective), Jesus Camp, and GasLand. The top film was a deserving if unsurprising choice: Steve James' 1994 classic, Hoop Dreams. James has also attended BSDFF for his own retrospective.

Lists like Current's are made to be debated, and sure enough the BSDFF influence plays a part there, as well. Why didn't Marwencol, the haunting, twist-filled film that screened at last year's festival, make the cut? And what about the gorgeous Montana-based Sweetgrass, which was part of the 2010 schedule? I'd take either of those BSDFF selections over Current's 49th choice, Madonna: Truth or Dare.

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