Critics Pick Favorite Docs of the Decade

What were the best documentary films of the past decade? One thing is certain — it’s not an easy task to narrow the list down.

Good thing there are film critics who reflect back every ten years and compile lists of their own. Check out some of their favorites below, which include several ITVS funded documentaries and Independent Lens broadcasts. Do you agree? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Paste Magazine: 25 Best Documentaries of the Decade

E
nron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) – Independent Lens
By Alex Gibney
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room chronicles a corporate disaster in which top executives from the seventh largest U.S. company walked away with over one billion dollars.

Waltz with Bashir (2008)
By Ari Folman
Former Israeli soldier and animator Ari Folman attempts to decipher the horror he witnessed in a 1982 massacre of thousands of Palestinian refugees by Christian militia.

See the complete list >>

Kino-Eye Film Blog: 35 documentary films, 2000-2009

The Cats of Mirikitani (2006) – Independent Lens
By Linda Hattendorf
When 9/11 threatens eighty-year-old Jimmy Mirikitani’s life on the streets of New York, the artist begins to confront his painful past and finds hope, humanity, and home.

Helvetica (2007) – Independent Lens
By Gary Hustwit
A film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture, Helvetica looks at the proliferation of one typeface.

Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness (2009) – Independent Lens
By Llewellyn Smith
Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness examines the life and work of the Jewish anthropologist, Melville Herskovits, whose writings challenged prevailing notions of race and culture.
Airing this season of Independent Lens: February 2 at 10:00 PM on PBS (check local listings)

King Corn (2009) – Independent Lens
By Aaron Woolf, Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney
Two recent college graduates plant a single acre of the nation’s most powerful crop— corn –– and set out to follow it on its journey from a seed to the dinner plate.

Made in L.A. (2007) – P.O.V.
By Almudena Carracedo
Documenting the lives, struggle and personal transformation of three Latina immigrants working in garment factories, Made in L.A. explores the complex impact of globalization on the U.S. apparel industry and on its largely immigrant workforce.

Mirror Dance (2005) – Independent Lens
By Frances McElroy and Maria T. Rodriguez
Mirror Dance is the story of two women: identical twins Margarita and Ramona de Saá, forever linked by birth and dance, but struggling to overcome rifts between sisters and nations alike.

Waltz with Bashir (2008)
By Ari Folman
Former Israeli soldier and animator Ari Folman attempts to decipher the horror he witnessed in a 1982 massacre of thousands of Palestinian refugees by Christian militia.

The Weather Underground (2003) – Independent Lens
By Sam Green and Bill Siegel
Speaking candidly for the first time on camera about their experiences, members of the Weather Underground face their pasts as privileged young men and women who turned to systematic violence in their efforts to stop the Vietnam War and start a revolution. Narrated by Lili Taylor.

See the complete list >>

  • Slickbullet

    Yo! the Guys and Gals (don't see them as seniors) of Young @ Heart really inspires the human spirit with the power to show what freedom looks like! Freedom from fear of looking “not good enough”. Freedom to have fun! And not have to go to jail for it, or hurt anybody. You go people!

  • anitaflora

    Young at Heart is just one example of the inspirational, informative, and motivational films I've seen through Independent Lens. These seniors are actually elderly, not just “senior.” Watching them interact and perform shows what a difference music can make in one's life. As a healthcare worker, I myself have witnessed nursing home residents who rarely speak or move come to life when music is played. They will sing along and tap their feet or clap their hands as if suddenly animated.
    Thanks for the variety of wonderful education and entertainment.

  • deenellie

    I really enjoyed this documentary. I would love to see them live! This documentary was such an inspiration. I'm sure this chorus keeps a lot of the youngsters going! I love that they're so active an look forward to singing. I love it! Congrats to the performers, the producers and the creators!

  • deenellie

    I really enjoyed this documentary. I would love to see them live! This documentary was such an inspiration. I'm sure this chorus keeps a lot of the youngsters going! I love that they're so active an look forward to singing. I love it! Congrats to the performers, the producers and the creators!