“What should I watch tonight?” It’s a perennial question we ask ourselves. And yes, you might want to see a mindless television series but we’re going to persuade you do try a different route this time and watch documentaries. And, no, you won’t be sleeping to boredom. Get your popcorn ready.
Taylor Swift: Miss Americana
You might think you don’t need more information on Taylor Swift. She’s a social media regular. But, you would see a side of Swift you haven’t seen before: one where she’s speculative. The mega-star talks openly about how she had an eating disorder, worsened by seeing her body captured by the paparazzi. She rereads her teenage diaries and pets a kitten while playing the piano and the film brings to light the loneliness that comes along with fame. You will love this one for the profound moments of authenticity that come out during the film.
The Nowhere Inn
This is a rare sub-genre to come by but The Nowhere Inn is a mockumentary. It’s a bit bizarre but aims at presenting a new perspective on rock documentaries. The film is directed by Bill Benz, and stars Annie Clark, who’s also known as the feminist rock star St. Vincent. She co-wrote the movie with her real-life friend Carrie Brownstein, who in the film is hired to direct a behind-the-scenes St. Vincent documentary that went horribly wrong and was never completed. What you can expect to watch is a documentary that relishes reinvention while calling out our incessant need for entertainment over reality.
Mucho Mucho Amor
A Puerto Rican astrologer, actor, dancer, and writer, Walter Mercado Salinas was known by his stage name Shanti Ananda. He was a popular television personality for decades in Puerto Rico, Latin America and the United States. Always and bejewelled and blonde, the man was known for his excesses. This glittery documentary Mucho Mucho Amor traces how Mercado was a global icon, even though many liked to call him a fraud.
Out of the many brilliant documentaries, Boys State is the winner of the The Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize for best documentary. It tells the story of the American Legion program also called Boys State, in which 1,100 high school students come together at the Texas Capitol to build a government from scratch. It’s coming-of-age story about politics and civics.
Chances are you have heard of Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, who has directed and produced the film Vivos. He has made two documentaries in the past. In his third film, the theme of migration arises again as it tells the story of Mexican students ambushed on a bus, from the perspective of their parents awaiting news of their children. But the story investigates and reveals how we’re all living through systemic corruption.