Sight & Sound’s Greatest Documentaries List

Sight and Sound Doc Poll

Sight and Sound have recently released the results of a poll of critics and filmmakers to find the greatest documentaries of all time.

The Critics’ Top 10 documentaries are:

1. Man with a Movie Camera, dir. Dziga Vertov (USSR 1929)

2. Shoah, dir. Claude Lanzmann (France 1985)

3. Sans soleil, dir. Chris Marker (France 1982)

4. Night and Fog, dir. Alain Resnais (France 1955)

5. The Thin Blue Line, dir. Errol Morris (USA 1989)

6. Chronicle of a Summer, dir. Jean Rouch & Edgar Morin (France 1961)

7. Nanook of the North, dir. Robert Flaherty (USA 1922)

8. The Gleaners and I, dir. Agnès Varda (France 2000)

9. Dont Look Back, dir. D.A. Pennebaker (USA 1967)

10. Grey Gardens, dir. Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer (USA 1975)

The poll report is released in the September edition of Sight & Sound published today, Friday 1st August.

The full lists of all the votes received and films nominated will be available online from 14th August.

You can join in the debate at Twitter using the hashtag #BestDocsEver.

> Sight and Sound
> More on documentary film at Wikipedia

Interview: Alex Gibney on We Steal Secrets

Julian Assange in We Steal Secrets

We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks is the new documentary from director Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Darkside, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God) and explores the organization started in 2006 by Julian Assange.

It then charts the various people involved in the leaking of secret information, including hackers, journalists and activists who during 2009-2010, leaked information about the the Icelandic financial collapseSwiss banks evading tax and toxic-waste dumping.

It then focuses on the case of Bradley Manning, the army private who leaked an enormous amount of classified information about the Afghan and Iraq wars, as well as over 250,000 diplomatic cables.

Since the film premiered at Sundance in January, Manning has pleaded guilty and could face the death penalty, some Wikileaks supporters have taken issue with the film and Assange remains holed up in diplomatic limbo at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Added to this, another leak of seismic proportions rocked the US government in early June when a new whistle-blower named Edward Snowden released details of PRISM, a top-secret global spying program of unprecedented scope and size.

At the time of writing, Snowden is in diplomatic limbo at Moscow airport, but although some of the events and issues raised in the film are ongoing, there was much to chew on when I spoke with Gibney at the end of June.

Have a listen to the interview here:

You can also download the podcast via iTunes or get the MP3 directly.

We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks opens in the UK on Friday 12th July

> Alex Gibney on Twitter and the IMDb
> Get local showtimes via Google Movies
> Find out more about Wikileaks and Edward Snowden at Wikipedia

84th Academy Awards: Documentary (Feature)

NOMINEES

HELL AND BACK AGAIN

A film about a sergeant in the United States Marines Corps, who returns from the Afghanistan conflict with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Visit the official site www.hellandbackagain.com and connect with the film on Facebook and Twitter.

IF A TREE FALLS

Director Marshall Curry explores the origins, motives, and organization of the Earth Liberation FrontEco-terrorism and how the Department of Justice was able to find and arrest Daniel McGowan.

The official site is www.ifatreefallsfilm.com

PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY

The sequel to the landmark documentaries Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, which chronicle the arrest, 18 year imprisonment, and eventual release of the West Memphis Three.

The official site is www.paradiselost3themovie.com and connect with the film on Facebook and Twitter

PINA

3D documentary about the late Pina Bausch, directed by Wim Wenders.

The official site is www.pina-film.de

UNDEFEATED

The film documents the struggles of the Memphis’s Manassas Tigers as they attempt a winning season under a new coach after years of losses.

The official site is www.undefeatedmovie.com

Official Oscar site
Explore previous winners and nominees of Best Documentary Feature

84th Academy Awards: Documentary (Short Subject)

NOMINEES

  • The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement – Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin
  • God Is the Bigger Elvis – Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson
  • Incident in New Baghdad – James Spione
  • Saving Face – Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
  • The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom – Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

THE BARBER OF BIRMINGHAM: FOOT SOLDIER OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

The story of James Armstrong as he prepares in 2008 for the election of America’s first black President and reflects on his own contribution to the Civil Rights Movement.

Raising questions about democracy and prejudice, it charts the long struggle for racial harmony

Find out more at the official site: www.barberofbirmingham.com and see Robin Fryday interviewed on the Tavis Smiley Show.

GOD IS THE BIGGER ELVIS

The story of Dolores Hart, who gave up her career as an actress in Elvis Presley movies to become a Benedictine nun.

IMDb link

INCIDENT IN NEW BAGHDAD

An exploration of the notorious deaths in 2007 of two Reuters journalists and several civilians at the hands of U.S. attack helicopters on the streets of Baghdad.

Recounted by US soldier Ethan McCord – one of the first troops on the scene – it has already won awards at the Tribeca and Rhode Island Film Festivals.

The official site is www.incidentinnewbaghdad.com

SAVING FACE

Documentary which explores a Pakistani plastic surgeon who returns to his homeland to operate on victims (all women) of acid violence, a grisly and disturbing phenomenon in the country.

It focuses on two survivors of acid attacks and their battle for justice and their journey of healing. Directed by Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy.

The official site is www.jungefilm.com/films/saving-face

THE TSUNAMI AND THE CHERRY BLOSSOM

Director Lucy Walker explores how survivors of Japan’s recent tsunami rebuild their lives just as cherry blossom season begins.

Official site is www.thetsunamiandthecherryblossom.com and connect with the film on Facebook and Twitter.

Official Oscar site
Explore previous winners and nominees of Best Documentary Short