On the importance of having a basic knowledge about the world, I’ll probably write a post later, so for now, I want to list up some of the best documentaries that I recommend Millennials to watch while they are Millennials. Every film has something to do with history, politics, social issues and the content they cover is NOT pretty at all. Those recommendations are all IMHO, so no judging.
*Click on each of the images to purchase the movie from Amazon.com
1. Zeitgeist Series
Zeitgeist: The Movie (2007)
Zeitgeist: Addendum (2008)
Zeitgeist: Moving Forward (2011)
So first of all, what the hell is “zeitgeist”? To be honest, I hadn’t even known the word until I saw this movie. I googled the word, and Google said it means “spirit of the times.” But Hello, what the hell is “spirit of the times”? So then, all the more confused, I went to search on Wikipedia, my beloved friend. And below is what it said:
“Spirit of Time is the dominant set of ideals and beliefs that motivate the actions of the members of a society in a particular period in time.”
So basically, what this means is, for example, there is an idea of gender equality, then the idea itself becomes a “Zeitgeist” and leads to a women liberation movement in the 1970s….
These series of 3 documentaries cover themes like
– Did Jesus really exist?
– 911 was a scam
– Our economy is controlled by those who are in the top hierarchy, etc.
These themes seem like urban legends, but what’s interesting is that in the documentaries they show us the evidence, so the issues they cover seem really plausible and valid. I think they made it very realistic (not arguing here whether it is indeed true or not). Personally, the part about the economic hit man was fascinating. (It’s in 2008 Zeitgeist Addendum) And we also have a post on our website about an economic hit man. Yes, you can ignore and say that this is all bullshit, but I recommend the documentary simply because I think it’s important to know various things and see the issue from multiple angles.
Check these posts on Zeitgeist on our blog. Pt.1 Pt.2
- Super Size Me (2004)
A very, very popular documentary about fast food. This documentary shows a poor guy who decides to live eating ONLY fast food EVERYDAY. (I think the experiment was planned to continue for 2 months?)
Spoiler Alert! Needless to say, halfway through the movie he gets a doctor’s order to stop. A good movie where you can see how continuous intake of junk food affects your body.
- The Corporation (2004)
A Canadian documentary about major corporations and their endless effort of bribing, fraud, concealment, camouflaging and so on. It also contains the interviews of CEOs from huge companies, and the narrating is fantastic mainly due to its dark humor touch. It is a very well done documentary and is very funny in some parts, so I highly recommend this even if you are not in business.
- Where to Invade Next (2015)
This is a Michael Moore documentary which is my favorite one. The concept of this documentary is that Michael Moore goes into different countries and shows us how the nation solves problems that are common in the US. For example, college tuition is a big issue in the US. He goes to Finland and shows how college tuition there almost costs nothing. He goes to France and shows how they have a lesson about love. He then, “invades” the country and tries to bring the solutions back to the US, thus the name of this documentary. Where to invade next?
Anyway, I just absolutely loved the lesson about love, but I doubt it would be popular in Japan. I generally suggest Millennials watch Michael Moore’s documentaries and this is no exception.
- The True Cost (2015)
Showing what’s hidden behind the curtains in the fashion industry. The central theme is sweatshops and ethical fashion. This problem is challenging along with other social issues because fashion/textile/apparel industry is built upon bribing, low-cost labor, child labor, and sweatshops. Fast fashion makes it easy for the youngsters to get fashionable pieces at a meager price. Contrary to that, if you try to live buying only ethical fashion pieces, you’ll probably end up broke. Nevertheless, there are so many brands that are trying to make a change in the fashion industry, and we are as well slowly moving to a more ethical way of living. I hope someday humanity will be able to afford ethical fashion pieces for all of the clothing.
- Food Inc (2008)
Food and corporations and their endless competition over rights and interests and so on. If you can’t tolerate the view of blood and animal killing and slaughtering, then you can’t watch this documentary. This documentary also covers the issue of the conglomerates bribing local farmers, intervening in the way they breed animals, etc. Some farmers and corporations rejected the interview, and that was very sad to see. Because of some explicit slaughtering scenes, I assure you, you won’t be able to eat meat for a few days.
If you want to know what happens in slaughterhouses and how our meat is produced, then definitely watch it. Vegan or not, you’ll be able to further appreciate the food.
- That Sugar Film
The same kind of documentary as “Super Size Me,” but this one is about sugar. What happens if you continuously take only sugar? This documentary is kind of arguable in a sense that the main character, literally eats 40 teaspoons of sugar every day, which is too extreme to portray the excessive sugar intake. After all, we don’t eat 40 teaspoons of pure, white sugar. We consume sugar along with other ingredients and foods.
Spoiler alert, of course, halfway through the movie, he gets a doctor’s order to stop.
When I googled the reviews, I saw comments like “it made me so sleepy” or “a good movie to watch before you go to bed.” I watched it, and I didn’t find myself becoming sleepy, in contrast, I found this documentary so entertaining! Harsh natural environment, the beauty of nature and the lives of animals that live in such a vast, majestic world of nature. Apparently, it took almost 5 years to film and create the documentary. That’s a hell of a long time. Even if an animal is dying in front of your eyes, even if the mother polar bear can’t find anything to eat, you can’t help. The only thing allowed is to watch and record what is happening because that’s nature and you can’t mess with it. All you can do is just observe. I send big applause to the crew who stayed for hours in the hottest or coldest environments only to shoot one small scene from the lives of rare animals. I assure you, this will inspire you a lot.
9. Poverty, Inc. (2014)
Hmmm. This one was debatable. The film focuses on how our donations are used by NGOs, how the NGOs help the developing countries, and how that aid is ruining the local primary and secondary sectors of industry. I had mixed feelings about this film because:
1) Firstly, why did they have to focus solely on Haiti? (I mean I understand, case study, duh) But I was kind of expecting a more holistic approach to the topic.
2) Too serious, making the movie tedious and hard to watch till the end. Not that I’m suggesting it to be a comedy.
The point of this film is to stop giving free shit (mainly garbage from the developed countries) to the developing countries and start helping them establish their own, local industries.
It might be an excellent introductory movie to watch for people who are just starting to be interested in this kind of themes.
10. An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
This is probably the most well-known, Oscars-winning documentary on global warming. It’s a lecture by the former vice president Al Gore who advocated the importance of stopping global warming and on the conservation of our natural environment. I’m not going to debate whether what he stated in the documentary is true or false; however, I think he made an excellent job of spreading and “popularizing” the idea of environmental protection. There is also a sequel to this movie called “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.”
The contents are good, the lecture itself is interesting and full of data, sometimes lighthearted with a mildly comedic touch in it and is easy to watch without being depressed or sad over the heavy topic. I suggest this as an introductory documentary to the Millennials who are interested in environmental protection.
Where to find such interesting documentaries?
If you want to know more, watch more but don’t know where you should go, I posted some URLs below where you can find exactly what you are looking for.
・YouTube Real Stories
A British channel that posts mostly UK based documentaries. You can find various documentaries on this channel, and the good thing is that most of them are around an hour long. I usually watch them while I’m cooking. The only complaint I have is that most of them can be 10+years old and not up to date. So, after watching, you are left hanging with a question of what happened later in the future, and sometimes the course of events is so drastically changed that it makes the whole documentary pointless. So please don’t watch them if you have a fixed idea that they were shot in the recent years.
Usually, YouTube is full of different kinds of documentaries. The ones that have a lot of views are the popular ones. Also, useful websites are below:
Most of them are on YouTube, but they are separated by genres making it more convenient to look for your desired documentaries.
Netflix has lots of original documentaries, so if you are a Netflix addict, why not checking them out too?
What’s your favorite film? Comment below↓
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest, Millennials.