Hyperallergic is one of the few sites with dedicated coverage for nonfiction film and art. Documentary editor Dan Schindel has gathered a series of works expressing both sides of the political and personal split—often mixing the two. From an in-depth examination of Nazi history to a train acting as synecdoche for modern China, these documentaries (and one mockumentary on feminist revolution) tackle how people's lives are shaped by the forces around them.
Le Joli Mai
Directed by Chris Marker, Pierre Lhomme • Documentary • 1963 • 145 minutes
Filmed just after the March 1962 ceasefire between France and Algeria, LE JOLI MAI documents Paris during a turning point in French history: the first time since 1939 that France was not involved in any war.
Part I, "A P...
Finally Got the News
Directed by Stewart Bird, Rene Lichtman and Peter Gessner • Documentary • 1970 • 55 minutes
FINALLY GOT THE NEWS is a forceful, unique documentary that reveals the activities of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers inside and outside the auto factories of Detroit. Through interviews with th...
Directed by Joel DeMott and Jeff Kreines • Documentary • 1982 • 120 minutes
Part of the acclaimed Middletown series.
In their final year at Muncie's Southside High School, a group of seniors hurtles toward maturity with a combination of joy, despair, and an aggravated sense of urgency. They are...
Born in Flames
Directed by Lizzie Borden • Drama • With Honey, Adele Bertaei, Jeanne Satterfield, Flo Kennedy, Ron Vawter, Eric Bogosian • 1983 • 80 minutes
The movie that rocked the foundations of the early indie film world, this provocative, thrilling classic is a fantasy of female rebellion set in America t...
Directed by Ross McElwee • Documentary • 1986 • 155 minutes
When First Run released Ross McElwee's Sundance Award winning Sherman's March in 1986, it went on to become one of the largest grossing documentaries ever. Audiences and critics alike fell in love with McElwee's "quirky, funny and fasci...
Hotel Terminus - Part I
Directed by Marcel Ophuls • Documentary • 1988 • 114 minutes
"Making this film was like an intense fight for the survival of memory itself."—Marcel Ophuls
A brilliant and epic Academy Award-winning examination of the Nazi SS officer Klaus Barbie, the infamous "Butcher of Lyon", HOTEL TERMINUS: ...
Directed by Marc Singer • Documentary • 2000 • 82 minutes
For years, a homeless community took root in a train tunnel beneath New York City, braving dangerous conditions and perpetual night. DARK DAYS explores this surprisingly domestic subterranean world, unearthing a way of life unimaginable t...
Live Nude Girls Unite!
Directed by Vicky Funari & Julia Query • Documentary • With Julia Query, Siobhan Brooks, Kristina, Ellen, Star, Joyce Wallace • 2000 • 70 minutes
Winner of the Audience Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Live Nude Girls Unite! is "a partisan tale from the inside" (Boston Pho...
Our Daily Bread
Directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter • Documentary • 2005 • 92 minutes
OUR DAILY BREAD reveals the little-known world of high-tech agriculture. In a series of visually stunning, continuously tracking, wide-screen images that seem right out of a science-fiction movie, we see the places where food is c...
Just Ancient Loops
Directed by Bill Morrison • Documentary • 2012 • 26 minutes
A short film based on research by Walter Murch, relating orbits to harmonics.
The Iron Ministry
Directed by J. P. Sniadecki • Documentary • 2014 • 83 minutes
Filmed over three years on China's railways, J. P. Sniadecki's masterful documentary traces the vast interiors of a country on the move: flesh and metal, clangs and squeals, light and dark, language and gesture. Scores of rail journey...
Directed by Debra Granik • Documentary • 2016 • 102 minutes
From Debra Granik, director of the Oscar-nominated 'Winter's Bone', comes this portrait of a motorcycle-riding, freedom-loving, Vietnam veteran cast in the mold of an outlaw biker. But there's much more to burly, bearded Ronnie 'Stray D...