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Documentaries I’ve seen recently

December 18, 2014

Dirty Wars – The film “follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill into the heart of America’s covert wars, from Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia and beyond…as Scahill digs deeper into the activities of JSOC, he is pulled into a world of covert operations unknown to the public and carried out across the globe by men who do not exist on paper and will never appear before Congress. In military jargon, JSOC teams “find, fix, and finish” their targets, who are selected through a secret process. No target is off limits for the ‘kill list,’ including U.S. citizens.”

It is hard to like a film of this nature. As the website says, viewers are “left with haunting questions about freedom and democracy, war and justice.” However, this is a film everyone needs to see, especially if you want to understand how these actions cause others around the world to view the US and its citizens.

Five Broken Cameras – The film is a deeply personal, first-hand account of life and non-violent resistance. It “really is about those cameras. The lifespan of each camera frames a chapter in the struggle of the Palestinian village of Bil’in…against expanding Israeli settlements and the path of the country’s approaching security fence, which together would consume much of the village’s cultivated land. The cameras also capture the growing awareness and puzzlement of a little boy born into a world torn by a conflict that adults can barely comprehend.” [PBS]

The film shows a different view of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, which means many people won’t watch it as it goes against all their preconceived ideas of what is really happening. Yet, to truly understand a situation, you have to hear both sides. Highly recommended.

Inequality for All – a film that follows former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich as he examines the economic and social consequences being caused by the widening gulf between rich and poor in the United States.

It is hard to fathom that so many people still don’t believe that income inequality is real and a major issue with far reaching consequences. With that said, this film presents overwhelming evidence of the history of income equality, how it looks today, and the consequences if the gap continues to widen.

Happy – “…takes us on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy. Combining real life stories of people from around the world and powerful interviews with the leading scientists in happiness research, HAPPY explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion.” [IMDB]

I thought it was interesting and definitely makes you think about how much we quantify and research depression, but don’t do nearly as much for the opposite: happiness.

Miss Representation – The film “exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.”

This documentary makes me scared to have a daughter. Having said that, I would welcome the chance to have a daughter and build into her, helping her understand her true identity. At the same time I am excited to raise my son to view and treat women with the dignity and respect every single human deserves. The same filmmakers have filmed a similar documentary focusing on boys called “The Mask You Live In.” I haven’t seen it yet, but I really want to.

If you’ve watched any of these, what are your thoughts? If you’ve seen another good documentary, post the title in the comments.

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