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Documentary Films at Westbank Library

Westbank Library has a great DVD collection, one that I think all of us that work here are quite proud of. I particularly love documentary films and think we have an especially great collection to choose from. Each year seems to yield a chunk of really great new films, and we try to select and acquire many of those for the library. But we may miss a few, so be sure to let us know if there is something you’d like to see that we don’t have. 

In 2007 the International Documentary Association listed its choice for the top 25 documentaries.  Of the 25 we have 22 of them, with one, Titicut Follies, out of print at this time. We actually used to have the other two but sadly they did not get checked out and so quietly went away. The list is as follows:

  • Hoop dreamsHoop Dreams
  • The thin blue line
  • Bowling for Columbine
  • Spellbound
  • Harlan County, USA
  • An inconvenient truth
  • Crumb
  • Rolling Stones : gimme shelter
  • The fog of war
  • Roger & me
  • Super size me
  • Bob Dylan : don’t look back
  • Salesman
  • Koyaanisqatsi
  • Sherman’s march
  • Grey gardens
  • Capturing the Friedmans
  • Born into brothels
  • Titicut follies
  • Buena Vista Social Club
  • Fahrenheit 9/11
  • Winged migration
  • Grizzly man
  • Night and fog
  • Woodstock

This is a fun list, but it doesn’t include anything released after 2007, and is only one organization’s list of top documentaries.  I’m sure many of you have your own.  My top 25 list, at least today, is:

  • Black power mixtape: 1967-1975 : a documentary in 9 chapters
  • George Harrison: living in the material world
  • The Interrupters (one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen, period)
  • Man on wire
  • Marwencol
  • Paradise Lost : the child murders at Robin Hood Hills (and its 2 sequels)
  • Hearts of darkness: a filmmaker’s apocalypse
  • Hoop dreams
  • Life and times of Allen Ginsberg
  • Mad hot ballroom
  • Grizzly man
  • Common threads : stories from the quilt
  • Bright leaves
  • Sherman’s march: a meditation on the possibility of romantic love in the South during an era of nuclear weapons proliferation
  • The cruise
  • Crumb
  • The devil and Daniel Johnston
  • Don’t look back
  • End of the century: the story of the Ramones
  • Grey Gardens
  • We live in public
  • Wild parrots of Telegraph Hill
  • Young@heart
  • Gimme shelter
  • Monterey Pop
  • Metallica : some kind of monster
  • Murderball
  • My architect : a son’s journey
  • My flesh and blood
  • Step into liquid
  • The thin blue line
  • Times of Harvey Milk
  • We were here

Something tells me that might be more than 25! Be sure to tune in in a few days and I’ll highlight my favorite of these favorites. If you want to send me your list, you can do so at