All right, you true crime pervs. We’re back for another month of watching shows about real things happening to real people in real time. And there’s plenty on the menu. We’ve got a couple of golden oldies (Man on Wire, Amy) and brand new docos on everything from Nora Ephron to guys collecting coral.
Here are 10 documentaries you should be watching in March.
Seeing Allred chronicles the life and career of famed US attorney Gloria Allred, a staunch supporter of women’s rights who’s been kicking ass for over four decades. Tiny in stature, massive in influence. Sophie Sartain and Roberta Grossman’s doco is pretty firmly in the pro-Allred camp, but doesn’t shy away from her detractors either. A fascinating look at gender politics and power struggles over the last forty years.
Man On Wire
When the cops pulled tightrope walker Philippe Petit off the World Trade Centre towers in 1974 (he’d been walking between them at the time), journalists swarmed over him, asking “Why? Why did you do this?” The Frenchman just gave one of his little smiles and said, “There is no why.” One of the most moving docos of the last 10 years, Man on Wire picked up the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2014. Stay away if you’re scared of heights.
They’re calling this ‘the most fun you can have while being pissed off’. Dirty Money is basically an inside look at corporate greed, corruption, scandal, cons and ripping off the little guy. If you want to know how the rich get rich (and stay richer), give this a watch pronto. It’s on Netflix at the mo’.
We’re not crying, you’re crying! God damn, when that music swells at the end, and the camera flashes to old footage of Amy as a kid...we lose it every time. Amy is the acclaimed 2015 doco from Asif Kapadia about tragic genius Amy Winehouse. Asif spent years convincing family and friends to appear on camera, revealing old home footage that no-one had ever seen before. More than that, he got behind the headlines and gave us a look at who Amy Winehouse really was. And that is one sad, sad, revelation.
Beware The Slenderman
Okay, prepare never to sleep well again in the history of your life. Beware The Slenderman follows the story of two American girls who attempted to murder one of their friends to appease the ‘Slenderman’, a fictional computer game character who will haunt our brains forever. Director Irene Brodsky shot the fim over 18 months, interviewing families of the victim and the would-be murderers. Watch in daylight.
David Bowie: The Last Five Years
Another HBO hit (these guys just keep churning out the classic docos). This one follows (you guessed it) the last five years of David Bowie’s life and career, specifically his work on The Next Day and Blackstar. It debuted in January this year, and the reviews are already stellar. Want to know what happened to Major Tom? All is revealed...
(Spoiler: it didn’t end well.)
Everything Is Copy
You might be a fan of Nora Ephron without knowing it. If you liked Sleepless In Seattle, When Harry Met Sally or Julie & Julia, you’re an Ephron fan, because she was the genius behind all of them (not to mention a lifetime’s worth of journalism, comic writing and beautifully written novels). In terms of structure, it’s a pretty standard biopic, but the wit and warmth of its subject will leave you in stitches (and maybe in tears).
Five Foot Two
Speaking of biopics, Netflix is currently screening a pint-sized look at Lady Gaga (and specifically the struggles she’s faced over the last five years with the production of her latest album, Joanne). Netflix is spruiking the doco as classic cinéma vérité (which basically just means no BS tricks). Gaga devotees will obviously watch it without blinking once, but the story’s strong enough to hook you, even if you only know the chorus to Poker Face.
Voyeur is the story about an American man named Gerald Foos who liked to watch people having sex. In fact, he actually built a motel in Colorado that allowed him to watch his guests doing it...for two decades. The doco follows New Yorker journalist Gay Talese as he tracks down Foos, so it has a nice voyeuristic irony all of its own: we’re kind of watching a movie about a writer who’s watching a guy who watched people. Just watch it—you’ll see what we mean.
Chasing Coral is another Netflix gem. It’s a Sundance-winning look at the world of coral, and how humans are f*cking it up. If coral bleaching and the death of the Great Barrier Reef makes you uncomfortable, you should probably watch this. Director Jeff Orlowski and the team dived deep to chronical the speed and extent of coral bleaching, and the results are pretty scary.
And one Coming Soon...
Technically you can't watch this one in March, but we thought we'd give you guys a heads up anyway. A follow-up to the Netflix smash hit Making A Murderer is currently in production. It'll be called Convicting A Murderer, a broader look at the case of Steven Avery, as well as the public backlash following the original series. Convicting A Murderer is currently looking for distribution partners, so watch this space.
Image credit: Netflix