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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

quick list: five inspiring and cheerful documentaries

I read the news today, oh boy. It’s all so depressing: floods in Pakistan, miners down a mine till Christmas, and the global economy in freefall for everyone who isn’t a millionaire. Is there any good news? Why, yes, there is. After the jump, five ten fantastic feel-good documentaries to cheer us all up. And despite the rage at the moment for documentaries we’re not sure are real, these are guaranteed, 100-percent true.
Young@Heart
The feistiest octagenarians you’ve ever met tour the world belting out choral rock ’n’ roll. You will never want to complain about feeling old ever again.

Wordplay
The enchanting tale of crossword geeks, who turn out to be some of the most honest, upstanding, and sportsmanlike folks you’ll ever meet.

Kestrel’s Eye
The beautiful, intimate film — about a pair of falcons nest in a 13th-century church on the fringes of suburban Sweden — shows us the world through the eyes of birds.

OT: our town
With no money and a cast of skeptical East L.A. high-schoolers, one ambitious drama teacher pulls off an impressive production of the Thornton Wilder play, and oddball, square-peg teens blossom in the process.

Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony
Guess what helped defeat apartheid in South Africa? Music. A rousing tribute to the power of music to fuel nonviolent revolution.



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  • Jan Willem

    I wholeheartedly second the recommendation of Young@Heart. Exhilarating! Prepare to shed a tear, though, as casualties are bound to happen in such a set-up. “Should I stay or should I go” – indeed. The other docs look pretty interesting, too.

  • Chris

    Also, Anvil! The Story of Anvil.

    Even if you don’t particularly like metal, it’s a very captivating story. People have called it real-life Spinal Tap, and it really is. But emotionally, you identify with the band so much by the end that it can cause tearing up in places…

    I won’t spoil the ending ;)

  • Chris

    and yes, I’m aware that there is suspicion about its authenticity… I don’t care…

  • MaryAnn

    This is not meant to be a totally inclusive list. Feel free to add more titles!

  • Nate

    Sigur Ros’ documentary Heima definitely needs to be mentioned.

    I should add that it’s directed by Dean DeBlois of How to Train Your Dragon fame.

  • DaveTM

    “The King of Kong:A fistful of quarters” is a great documentary. It shows how those little obessions that you have can get out of control and take over your life and yet you are stil routing for him even though some of the things he does aren’t always nice.

  • amanohyo

    All the ones listed above are are great. The following are not necessarily cheerful, but I felt inspired and uplifted after watching them:

    Dark Days – People living in abandoned railway tunnels in NYC
    When We Were Kings – The Rumble in the Jungle; best sports doc ever
    Touching the Void – Near fatal climb in the Peruvian Andes
    Crumb – Required watching for geeks
    The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Experience
    Man on Wire – Walking on a tightrope between the twin towers

    And when I want to be simultaneously inspired and depressed, there’s always:

    An Unreasonable Man – Ralph Nader in all his glory

  • shortfilms in

    Good

    I really liked this,Many Skills used as well. I Love it.

    Welcome to mydocumentarys.com

    LockUp – Xed Out – San Antonio – Prison Crime Documentary Film,documentary, history channel documentary, national geographic documentary, bbc documentary, discovery channel documentary, lil wayne..

    – See more at:http://mydocumentarys.com/video/4NG6SSXOBNSS/LockUp-Xed-Out-San-Antonio-Prison-Crime-Documentary-Film

  • michel

    Good

    I really liked this,Many Skills used as well. I Love it.

    Welcome to mydocumentarys.comThe Capitalist Conspiracy – Debtocracy – Edward Griffin Documentary Film,documentary, history channel documentary, national geographic documentary, bbc documentary, discovery channel documentary,

    – See more at:http://mydocumentarys.com/video/5H533O85421Y/The-Capitalist-Conspiracy-Debtocracy-Edward-Griffin-Documentary-Film

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