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Documentaries

From actuality to direct cinema and the film essay, the documentary form is one of cinema’s pre-eminent mediums.

Places and people are the focus of this subscription collection, and filmmakers themselves come under the spotlight in our series of films about cinema.

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Almost Heaven
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Almost Heaven

Documentary201772 minsDirector: Carol Salter

Carol Salter's award-winning portrait of a young Chinese woman training to become a mortician is a tender and reflective elegy on death and the fragility of life.

Nature of the Beast
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Nature of the Beast

Biopic201796 minsDirector: Daniel Draper

A suitably forthright profile of the evergreen socialist, trade unionist and Labour politician Dennis Skinner - also known as the Beast of Bolsover.

Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle
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Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle

Documentary201782 minsDirector: Paul Sng

Maxine Peake narrates this forthright polemic on the consequences of the 1980s Right-to-Buy scheme on the nation's affordable housing.

Room 237
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Room 237

Documentary2012103 minsDirector: Rodney Ascher

Rodney Ascher's enigmatic essay film weaves together the contrasting theories of five different narrators who believe Stanley Kubrick deliberately buried hidden messages in his 1980 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel.

Welcome to Leith
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Welcome to Leith

Documentary201586 minsDirector: Michael Beach Nichols

What would you do if a Nazi moved next door? This chilling documentary follows the white supremacist takeover of a tiny Dakotan town.

Battle of Soho
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Battle of Soho

Documentary2017100 minsDirector: Aro Korol

Take a journey through London's most notorious district, meeting residents and campaigners at the forefront of a battle to keep its eccentric, diverse spirit alive.

Night Will Fall
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Night Will Fall

Documentary201475 minsDirector: André Singer

An unforgettable, compelling account of the production and subsequent restoration of a withheld film recording the liberation of Nazi concentration camps in 1945.

Shoah (First Era)
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Shoah (First Era)

Documentary1985274 minsDirector: Claude Lanzmann

Claude Lanzmann's monumental chronicle of the Holocaust has been acclaimed by many as the greatest documentary ever made.

Shoah (Second Era)
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Shoah (Second Era)

Documentary1985293 minsDirector: Claude Lanzmann

Claude Lanzmann's monumental chronicle of the Holocaust has been acclaimed by many as the greatest documentary ever made.

A Moving Image
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A Moving Image

Drama201674 minsDirector: Shola Amoo

The gentrification of London’s Brixton is examined in this probing and stylistically ambitious debut feature.

A Syrian Love Story
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A Syrian Love Story

Documentary201576 minsDirector: Sean McAllister

The inspiring journey towards freedom of Raghda and Amer, a couple brought together by the turmoil of the Syrian Civil War.

Letters from Baghdad
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Letters from Baghdad

Documentary201691 minsDirector: Sabine Krayenbühl

Tilda Swinton narrates the extraordinary journey of Gertrude Bell, a singular woman who played a significant – often unrecognised – role in British imperial policy making in Iraq.

Before Stonewall
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Before Stonewall

Documentary198484 minsDirector: Greta Schiller

Documenting the testimonies from those who dared to challenge the world and helped create the modern gay community.

I Am Divine
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I Am Divine

Documentary201390 minsDirector: Jeffrey Schwarz

A unique documentary about a unique person – follow Divine’s life from humble Baltimore beginnings to superstar status as the Queen of Cult.

Hit So Hard
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Hit So Hard

Documentary2011103 minsDirector: P. David Ebersole

Patty Schemel, one-time drummer of grunge band Hole, recounts her turbulent years on tour with the band, piecing together a compelling tale of rock and roll excess, and the personal story of one woman’s survival.

Buena Vista Social Club
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Buena Vista Social Club

Documentary1999101 minsDirector: Wim Wenders

Cuba’s rich and colourful past comes vividly to life in this legendary, Oscar-nominated documentary from director Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas, Wings of Desire).

The Stuart Hall Project
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The Stuart Hall Project

Documentary201399 minsDirector: John Akomfrah

Composed of film, music and photographs from the archives, a fascinating portrait of the life and times of the founder of cultural studies and the New Left Experience.

The Nine Muses
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The Nine Muses

Documentary201092 minsDirector: John Akomfrah

John Akomfrah mixes archive material, literary and musical quotations and newly shot silent footage in a wry, rapt meditation on memory and migration.

Two in the Wave
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Two in the Wave

200992 minsDirector: Emmanuel Laurent

Jean Luc-Godard and Francois Truffaut: the story of a friendship, a break-up and the birth of a new cinematic movement that would sweep the world.

Speaking of Buñuel
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Speaking of Buñuel

Documentary200099 minsDirector: José Luis López Linares

José Luis López-Linares and Javier Rioyo’s incisive documentary about Luis Buñuel.

Memories of John
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Memories of John

Documentary201229 minsDirector: Doug Headline

A short documentary featuring some of John Cassavetes' key collaborators, actor Peter Falk and producer Al Ruban.

A Personal Journey... Part 1
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A Personal Journey... Part 1

Documentary199572 minsDirector: Martin Scorsese

The first part of Martin Scorsese's 'personal journey' through American Cinema.

A Personal Journey… Part 2
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A Personal Journey… Part 2

Documentary199579 minsDirector: Martin Scorsese

The second part of Martin Scorsese's 'personal journey' through American Cinema.

A Personal Journey… Part 3
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A Personal Journey… Part 3

Documentary199574 minsDirector: Martin Scorsese

The third part of Martin Scorsese's 'personal journey' through American Cinema

My Voyage to Italy (part one)
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My Voyage to Italy (part one)

Documentary2001120 minsDirector: Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese’s two-part love letter to Italian cinema is epic and sprawling in scope but also a deeply personal and moving testament to his passion for film.

My Voyage to Italy (part two)
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My Voyage to Italy (part two)

Documentary2001126 minsDirector: Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese’s two-part love letter to Italian cinema is epic and sprawling in scope but also a deeply personal and moving testament to his passion for film.

A Summer + 50
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A Summer + 50

Documentary201075 minsDirector: Florence Dauman

Key participants discuss the making of influential cinéma vérite documentary Chronicle of a Summer. Includes unused footage from the film.

Finisterre
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Finisterre

Documentary200359 minsDirector: Kieran Evans

A journey from London’s suburbs to its heart, charting the influence of the city on indie pop band Saint Etienne.

This Is Tomorrow
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This Is Tomorrow

200754 minsDirector: Paul Kelly

The final part of Saint Etienne and Paul Kelly’s London trilogy follows the renovation and reopening of the Royal Festival Hall through 2005-7.

What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day?
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What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day?

200545 minsDirector: Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly’s second collaboration with pop band Saint Etienne traces the hidden history of East London’s Lower Lea Valley before its Olympic makeover.

I Am Belfast
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I Am Belfast

Documentary201584 minsDirector: Mark Cousins

Mark Cousins’ dreamlike evocation of his home city discovers a capital of rich history and startling beauty.

Sleep Furiously
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Sleep Furiously

Documentary200790 minsDirector: Gideon Koppel

Gideon Koppel’s charming documentary about a small farming community in mid-Wales, observing the unalterable rhythms of country life and the monthly visits of a mobile library.

Lotte Reiniger's Art
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Lotte Reiniger's Art

Documentary197017 minsDirector: John Isaacs

The short documentary gives us a wonderful insight into the enchanting animated film world of Lotte Reiniger.

A Century of French Cinema
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A Century of French Cinema

Documentary199550 minsDirector: Anne-Marie Miéville

Six regions, six films appraised for cultural and historical meaning. Produced by Jean-Luc Godard.

100 Years of Japanese Cinema
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100 Years of Japanese Cinema

Documentary199652 minsDirector: Nagisa Oshima

Archive propels argument in this fascinating exploration of the social and cultural importance of Japan's film heritage.

Anger Me
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Anger Me

Animation & Artists Moving Image200671 minsDirector: Elio Gelmini

Like all good magicians, the life and work of Kenneth Anger, the Magus of underground film, is crowded with mystery and myth.

Swandown
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Swandown

Documentary2012107 minsDirector: Andrew Kötting

Filmmaker Andrew Kötting and writer Iain Sinclair embark on a quest from Hastings to East London by pedalo.

This Our Still Life
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This Our Still Life

Documentary201156 minsDirector: Andrew Kötting

23-year-old Eden is shown drawing and painting still lifes in her Pyrenean family home.

Welcome to Britain
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Welcome to Britain

Documentary197673 minsDirector: Ben Lewin

Ben Lewin’s 1976 film captures a moment in Britain's evergreen immigration debate, focusing on new arrivals at Heathrow as they wrestle with immigration law.

Vito
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Vito

201193 minsDirector: Jeffrey Schwarz

A profile of LGBT activist, academic and author Vito Russo, the man who changed the face of queer film theory and brought us all out of the ‘Celluloid Closet’.

Les Invisibles
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Les Invisibles

Documentary2012112 minsDirector: Sébastien Lifshitz

French gay men and women in their 60s and 70s talk about their lives in Sébastien Lifshitz’s documentary.

We Were Here
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We Were Here

Documentary201190 minsDirector: David Weissman

We Were Here is the first documentary to take a deep and reflective look back at the arrival and impact of AIDS in 1980s San Francisco.

Room 666
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Room 666

Documentary198446 minsDirector: Wim Wenders

Wim Wenders invites a group of filmmakers at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival – including Godard, Fassbinder, Herzog and Spielberg – to discuss cinema.

Notebook on Cities and Clothes
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Notebook on Cities and Clothes

Animation & Artists Moving Image198981 minsDirector: Wim Wenders

Wim Wenders helms this unusual but intimate documentary following pioneering fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto as he prepares for a fashion show in Paris.

Tokyo-Ga
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Tokyo-Ga

Documentary198592 minsDirector: Wim Wenders

Profiling one of the great directors of World Cinema, Wim Wenders delivers this moving portrait of Japanese auteur Yasujiro Ozu.

Of Time and the City
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Of Time and the City

Documentary200874 minsDirector: Terence Davies

Brilliantly mixing archive film and music, Liverpool-born director Terence Davies reflects with wit and wisdom on a times of change, for good or ill

Looking for Love
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Looking for Love

Documentary2015115 minsDirector: Menelik Shabazz

Leading filmmaker Menelik Shabazz (Burning an Illusion) explores intimacy and relationships within Britain’s black community.

London the Modern Babylon
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London the Modern Babylon

Documentary2012128 minsDirector: Julien Temple

The story of London told through a century of popular music and film archive treasures.

Innocence of Memories
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Innocence of Memories

Documentary201597 minsDirector: Grant Gee

A multi-layered melding of fiction and fact, about Nobel prize-winner Orhan Pamuk and his Istanbul Museum of Innocence.


From the Sea to the Land Beyond
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From the Sea to the Land Beyond

Documentary201273 minsDirector: Penny Woolcock

This fascinating and moving film by award-winning director Penny Woolcock is a lyrical portrait of Britain's coastline which features a score by British Sea Power.

Heart of the Angel
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Heart of the Angel

198940 minsDirector: Molly Dineen

Molly Dineen’s wry, humorous and sometimes touching look at the trials faced by the staff and passengers of London’s dishearteningly dilapidated Angel tube station, before its modernisation

Five Broken Cameras
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Five Broken Cameras

Documentary201190 minsDirector: Emad Burnat

The personal meets the political as a Palestinian farmer with a home video camera shoots a local protest against the building of an Israeli 'security fence' in his village, and finds himself the official documentarian of five years worth of footage of the struggle.

Brand: A Second Coming
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Brand: A Second Coming

Documentary2015105 minsDirector: Ondi Timoner

Russell Brand ponders his political awakening and messianic tendencies in Ondi Timoner’s perceptive and very funny documentary.

London
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London

Animation & Artists Moving Image199485 minsDirector: Patrick Keiller

The first in Patrick Keiller’s highly imaginative trilogy of films is a photographic trip through London, recounted by our unseen narrator.