The 6 Best Cinematic Documentaries of 2016!

Posted 2017/01/05 5416 0

Documentaries are getting more and more compelling and dramatic, and 2016 was a big year for them! In case the movie(s) you are interested in watching is not available on the site, please make a request so we can upload it for you ASAP!


1. Into the Inferno

Director: Werner Herzog

An exploration of active volcanoes in Indonesia, Iceland, North Korea and Ethiopia, Herzog follows volcanologist and co-director Clive Oppenheimer, who hopes to minimize the volcanoes’ destructive impact. Herzog’s quest? To gain an image of our origins and nature as a species. He finds that the volcano, mysterious, violent, and rapturously beautiful, instructs us that, “there is no single one that is not connected to a belief system.”


2. The Birth of Saké

Director: Erik Shirai

In a world where most mass produced goods are heavily automated, a small group of craftsmen must brave unusual working conditions to preserve a 2000-year-old tradition that we have come to know as saké in its most classical form, as exemplified by the 144 year-old family-run Yoshida Brewery. As directed by Erik Shirai (formerly a cinematographer on No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain) The Birth of Saké is a tribute to artisans who have dedicated their lives to carrying on this increasingly rare craft. In its beautifully poetic shots, we get to know the brewery's staff, who spend 6 months out of each year at the brewery, forsaking family, friends and even holidays in order to maintain the round-the-clock process the age-old process demands. As artisans who must dedicate their whole lives to the making of this world-class saké, their private sacrifices are often sizable and unseen.


3. Weiner

​Directors: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg

The film follows Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin, beginning with his time in Congress and his 2011 resignation after photos of his bulging underwear appeared on Twitter. The bulk of the film is about his 2013 campaign in the Democratic Party primary for Mayor of New York City. At first his campaign is going well, with many New Yorkers willing to give him a second chance as reflected in polls putting him at or near the top of a crowded field. Then additional examples of his online sexual activity surface, including explicit text conversations with women that occurred well after his resignation from Congress. The mood of the campaign switches from exuberance to pain. Intimate views are captured of Weiner, his wife and his campaign staff struggling with the new revelations and the media firestorm that ensues. In only a couple of instances is the camera asked to leave the room.


4. The Dangerous Life of John McAfee

Director: Nanette Burstein

The stranger-than-fiction saga of John McAfee, the computer antivirus software mogul who decamped to a heavily fortified jungle compound in Belize, where his libertine lifestyle was interrupted by allegations he had murdered his neighbor in 2012. His subsequent flight to Guatemala and later foray into United States politics is retold by Academy Award-nominated documentarian Nanette Burstein.


5. Fire at Sea

​Director: Gianfranco Rosi

Situated 150 miles south of Sicily, Lampedusa has hit headlines as the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern refugees hoping to make a new life in Europe. After spending months living on the island and engaging with its inhabitants, Rosi accumulated an incredible array of footage, portraying the history, culture and daily lives of the islanders. Focusing on 12-year-old Samuele, as he explores the land and attempts to gain mastery of the sea, the film slowly builds a breathtakingly naturalistic portrait of the Lampedusan people and the events that surround them.


6. The Eagle Huntress

Director: Otto Bell

Aishol-pan, a 13-year-old girl, trains to become the first female in 12 generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter and rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries. While there are many old Kazakh eagle hunters who vehemently reject the idea of any female taking part in their ancient tradition, Aisholpan's father, Nurgaiv, believes that a girl can do anything a boy can, as long as she's determined.