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Best Documentaries of 2013

Here's a sampling of documentaries that made the best of the year lists from PBS, IndieWire and USA Today.


Amazon Says: This chilling and inventive documentary, executive-produced by Errol Morris (The Fog of War) and Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man), examines a country where death squad leaders are more...
Amazon Says: This chilling and inventive documentary, executive-produced by Errol Morris (The Fog of War) and Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man), examines a country where death squad leaders are celebrated as heroes, and are challenged to reenact their real-life mass killings in the style of the American movies they love. The hallucinatory result is a cinematic fever dream, an unsettling journey deep into the imaginations of mass murderers and the shockingly banal regime of corruption and impunity they inhabit. THE ACT OF KILLING is an unprecedented film that, according to The Los Angeles Times, could well change how you view the documentary form. *Indonesian with English Subtitles* Special Features: SPECIAL FEATURES - INCLUDES TWO VERSIONS OF THE FILM: 165-min. Director s Cut; 122-Min Theatrical Cut; 45-min. Interview with Oppenheimer on Democracy Now!; Audio Commentary with Executive Producer Werner Herzog and Director Joshua Oppenheimer; Vice Presents: Werner Herzog and Errol Morris on The Act of Killing; Deleted Scenes; Trailers; 40-page Booklet Featuring an Essay by Errol Morris; Digital Download --Digital Download is Region A/1-- less...
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Amazon Says: STORIES WE TELL is an "unmissable" (ROLLING STONE) genre-twisting film by Oscarr-nominated director Sarah Polley. Her investigation into the elusive truths and buried secrets more...
Amazon Says: STORIES WE TELL is an "unmissable" (ROLLING STONE) genre-twisting film by Oscarr-nominated director Sarah Polley. Her investigation into the elusive truths and buried secrets within a family of storytellers paints a profound portrait of a complicated and deeply lo ving family. less...
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Amazon Says: Killer whales are beloved majestic, friendly giants yet infamous for their capacity to kill viciously. The documentary BLACKFISH unravels the complexities of this dichotomy, e more...
Amazon Says: Killer whales are beloved majestic, friendly giants yet infamous for their capacity to kill viciously. The documentary BLACKFISH unravels the complexities of this dichotomy, employing the story of the notorious performing whale Tilikum, who unlike any orca in the wild has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. BLACKFISH expands on the discussion of keeping such intelligent creatures in captivity. less...
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Amazon Says: One of the most highly anticipated films of the year, from the directors of Sweetgrass and Foreign Parts, LEVIATHAN is a thrilling, immersive documentary that takes you deep i more...
Amazon Says: One of the most highly anticipated films of the year, from the directors of Sweetgrass and Foreign Parts, LEVIATHAN is a thrilling, immersive documentary that takes you deep inside the dangerous world of commercial fishing. Set aboard a hulking fishing vessel as it navigates the treacherous waves off the New England coast–the very waters that once inspired Moby Dick– the film captures the harsh, unforgiving world of the fishermen in starkly haunting, yet beautiful detail. Employing an arsenal of cameras that pass freely from film crew to ship crew, and swoop from below sea level to astonishing bird’s-eye views, LEVIATHAN is unlike anything you have ever seen; a purely visceral, cinematic experience. less...
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Amazon Says: As America remains embroiled in conflict overseas, a less visible war is taking place at home, costing countless lives, destroying families, and inflicting untold damage up on more...
Amazon Says: As America remains embroiled in conflict overseas, a less visible war is taking place at home, costing countless lives, destroying families, and inflicting untold damage up on future generations of Americans. In forty years, the War on Drugs has accounted for more than 45 million arrests, made America the world's largest jailer, and damaged poor communities at home and abroad. Yet for all that, drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available today than ever before. Filmed in more than twenty states, THE HOUSE I LIVE IN captures heart-wrenching stories from individuals at all levels of America's War on Drugs. From the dealer to the grieving mother, the narcotics officer to the senator, the inmate to the federal judge, the film offers a penetrating look inside America s longest war - a definitive portrait revealing its profound human rights implications. The film recognizes the seriousness of drug abuse as a matter of public health, and investigates the tragic errors and shortcomings that have meant this symptom is most often treated as a cause for law enforcement, creating a vast machine that largely feeds on America's poor, and especially on minority communities. Beyond simple misguided policy, the film examines how political and economic corruption have fueled the war for 40 years, despite persistent evidence of its moral, economic, and practical failures. less...
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Amazon Says: It s the dirty little secret of the War on Terror: all bets are off, and almost anything goes. We have fundamentally changed the rules of the game and the rules of engagement. more...
Amazon Says: It s the dirty little secret of the War on Terror: all bets are off, and almost anything goes. We have fundamentally changed the rules of the game and the rules of engagement. Today drone strikes, night raids, and U.S. government condoned torture occur in corners across the globe, generating unprecedented civilian casualties. Investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill (author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Mercenary Army) traces the rise of the Joint Special Operations Command, the most secret fighting force in U.S. history, exposing operations carried out by men who do not exist on paper and will never appear before Congress. No target is off-limits for the JSOC kill list, not even U.S. citizens. Director Richard Rowley and whistle-blower Scahill s DIRTY WARS is a chilling battle cry for the soul and conscience of an America few of us know exists. less...
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Amazon Says: In Uganda, a new bill threatens to make homosexuality punishable by death. David Kato, Uganda s first openly gay man, and retired Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo work ag more...
Amazon Says: In Uganda, a new bill threatens to make homosexuality punishable by death. David Kato, Uganda s first openly gay man, and retired Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo work against the clock to defeat state-sanctioned homophobia while combatting vicious persecution in their daily lives. But no one is prepared for the brutal murder that shakes their movement to its core and sends shock waves around the world. In an unmarked office at the end of a dirt track, veteran activist David Kato labors to repeal Uganda s homophobic laws and liberate his fellow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender men and women, or kuchus. But David s formidable task just became much more difficult. A new Anti-Homosexuality Bill proposes death for HIV-positive gay men, and prison for anyone who fails to turn in a known homosexual. Inspired by American evangelicals who have christened Uganda ground zero in their war on the homosexual agenda, the bill awaits debate in Uganda s Parliament. While most religious leaders in Uganda support the Bill, one lone voice from the Church is willing to speak out against it: Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, a purple-robed sage who has been expelled from the Anglican Church of Uganda for his theological defense of Uganda s LGBT community. Armed with a PhD in human sexuality and a thorough understanding of Biblical scripture, this octogenarian doggedly continues his work to establish a kuchu counseling center and safe house in Kampala. Meanwhile, local newspapers have begun outing kuchus with vicious fervor under headlines such as: HOMO TERROR! We Name and Shame Top Gays in the City. David, Uganda s first openly gay man, is one of the few who dare to publicly protest state-sanctioned homophobia. Working with an idiosyncratic clan of fellow activists, David fights Uganda s government and tabloids in the courts, on television, and at the United Nations. Because, he insists, if we keep on hiding, they will say we re not here. But one year into filming CALL ME KUCHU and just three weeks after a landmark legal victory, the unthinkable happens: David is brutally murdered in his home. His death sends shock waves around the world, and leaves the Bishop and Kampala s kuchus traumatized and seeking answers for a way forward. With unprecedented access, CALL ME KUCHU depicts the last year in the life of a courageous, quick-witted and steadfast man whose wisdom and achievements were not fully recognized until after his death, and whose memory has inspired a new generation of human rights advocates. less...
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Amazon Says: "Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man." Starting in 1964 with Seven Up, The UP Series has explored this Jesuit maxim. The original concept was to in more...
Amazon Says: "Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man." Starting in 1964 with Seven Up, The UP Series has explored this Jesuit maxim. The original concept was to interview 14 children from diverse backgrounds from all over England, asking them about their lives and their dreams for the future. Every seven years, renowned director Michael Apted, a researcher for Seven Up, has been back to talk to them, examining the progression of their lives. From cab driver Tony to schoolmates Jackie, Lynn and Susan and the enigmatic Neil, as they turn 56 more life-changing decisions and surprising developments are revealed. An extraordinary look at the structure of life in the 20th century, The UP Series is, according to critic Roger Ebert, "an inspired, almost noble use of the film medium. Apted penetrates to the central mystery of life." Bonus Features include: Roger Ebert Interview with Michael Apted, Biographies, Photogallery, Filmmaker's Statement Packaged in a 100% Certified Green Forestry Practices DVD Wallet less...
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Amazon Says: In 1980 Stanley Kubrick released his masterpiece of modern horror, The Shining. Over 30 years later we re still struggling to understand its hidden meanings. Rodney Ascher s w more...
Amazon Says: In 1980 Stanley Kubrick released his masterpiece of modern horror, The Shining. Over 30 years later we re still struggling to understand its hidden meanings. Rodney Ascher s wry and provocative documentary ROOM 237 fuses fact and fiction through interviews with both fanatics and scholars, creating a kaleidoscopic deconstruction of Kubrick s still-controversial classic. Special Features: The mstrmnd Speaks: Feature Commentary with Kevin McLeod, Secrets of The Shining: Panel Discussion from the First Annual Stanley Film Festival, 11 Deleted Scenes, The Making of the Music Featurette, Mondo Poster Design Discussion with Artist Aled Lewis, Trailers less...
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Amazon Says: SOUND CITY, the film, was conceived by Grohl after purchasing the legendary custom-built Neve 8028 recording console from Sound City Studios last year. The board, built in 197 more...
Amazon Says: SOUND CITY, the film, was conceived by Grohl after purchasing the legendary custom-built Neve 8028 recording console from Sound City Studios last year. The board, built in 1972, is considered by many to be the crown jewel of analog recording equipment, having recorded such artists as Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, Guns and Roses, Metallica, NIN, Rage Against The Machine and countless other musical legends over the past 40 years. Grohl's personal connection to Sound City began with the 1991 recording of Nirvana's breakthrough album, Nevermind. Selling over 30 million copies worldwide, Nevermind changed the entire musical landscape and forever altered the course of Dave Grohl's life. less...
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Amazon Says: From Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney comes this gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller about Julian Assange and the creation of WikiLeaks, the controvers more...
Amazon Says: From Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney comes this gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller about Julian Assange and the creation of WikiLeaks, the controversial website that facilitated the largest security breach in U.S. history. Paralleling Assange’s rise and fall with that of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the troubled young soldier who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents, We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks is a “riveting, nail-bitingly tense” (Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly), multi-layered exposé about transparency in the information age and our ever-elusive search for the truth. less...
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Amazon Says: Includes SRM Free Digital Download Before Bad Brains, the Sex Pistols or even the Ramones, there was a band called Death. Punk before punk existed, three teenage brothe more...
Amazon Says: Includes SRM Free Digital Download Before Bad Brains, the Sex Pistols or even the Ramones, there was a band called Death. Punk before punk existed, three teenage brothers in the early '70s formed a band in their spare bedroom, began playing a few local gigs and even pressed a single in the hopes of getting signed. But this was the era of Motown and emerging disco. Record companies found Death’s music— and band name—too intimidating, and the group were never given a fair shot, disbanding before they even completed one album. Equal parts electrifying rockumentary and epic family love story, A BAND CALLED DEATH chronicles the incredible fairy-tale journey of what happened almost three decades later, when a dusty 1974 demo tape made its way out of the attic and found an audience several generations younger. Playing music impossibly ahead of its time, Death is now being credited as the first black punk band (hell...the first punk band!), and are finally receiving their long overdue recognition as true rock pioneers. less...
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Amazon Says: Awareness of THE SOURCE FAMILY, YaHoWa13 and FATHER YOD has been growing since their early 1970s heyday. A spiritual commune dedicated to a wide-ranging blend of eastern and w more...
Amazon Says: Awareness of THE SOURCE FAMILY, YaHoWa13 and FATHER YOD has been growing since their early 1970s heyday. A spiritual commune dedicated to a wide-ranging blend of eastern and western mysticism, The Source Family were very much a part of the infamous era of tuning in, turning on and dropping out in the late 1960s and '70s. The Source Family's celebrity-hang-out vegetarian restaurant, rock band, utopian commune, and beautiful women made them darlings of Hollywood's Sunset Strip; but their outsider ideals and controversial spiritual leader Father Yod provoked local authorities, leading to their dramatic demise. Still, Yod's spirit lives on-in the hearts and souls of Family members, and in the music that he and the family's various bands made during his life, much of which remains in circulation. Additionally, new finds from the many hours of tapes they left behind are released every year. This incredible true story-told largely through home movies and photographs maintained by archivist ISIS AQUARIAN, one of Father Yod's fourteen wives, features a soundtrack comprised entirely of original Source Family music. The Source Family provides an unparalleled insider's view into the cult/commune phenomenon and wild social experimentation of the '70s; a penetrating and bittersweet examination of the joys of the free love generation and the contradictions that lay beneath the surface of their peaceful, easy feelings. In this, it is a uniquely Californian story as well. less...
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Amazon Says: ANDRE GREGORY: BEFORE AND AFTER DINNER is a wonderful exploration of the life and work of groundbreaking director, actor and artist Andr‚ Gregory. A witty and often hilariou more...
Amazon Says: ANDRE GREGORY: BEFORE AND AFTER DINNER is a wonderful exploration of the life and work of groundbreaking director, actor and artist Andr‚ Gregory. A witty and often hilariously funny raconteur, Gregory looks back on a career that spanned decades, shattered boundaries and established him as a cultural icon. He recalls the making of My Dinner With Andre, the Louis Malle-directed classic in which he starred and co-wrote, reflects on his pivotal role in American theatre, dishes on his brief sojourn in Hollywood, and talks about the discovery that led him to question his own identity and life's work. Bringing us back and forth in time, Gregory looks not only at his life, but at the nature of art, love and the creative process. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Cindy Kleine (who is also his wife), Andre Gregory: Before and After Dinner is a brilliant portrait of a modern renaissance man. less...
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