Relationships, Community, and Humanity: The Top Ten Documentaries

June 28, 2023

"The only way to have a friend is to be one." - Ralph Waldo Emerson - American writer, philosopher, and poet.


Friendship, relationships, and a sense of community form the bedrock of our existence. These complex human interactions, layered with emotions and shared experiences, help us understand ourselves and the world around us better. Through this article, we journey into the world of documentaries and docuseries that explore these intricate networks of human bonds.

There's no denying the immense power and importance of human connection. Our relationships can shape us, help us grow, and provide us with a sense of belonging. Exploring these interactions through the lens of documentaries allows for a deeper, more empathetic understanding of the nuances of human behavior and the significance of social bonds. These stories can be humorous, poignant, inspiring, or heartbreaking, but they all celebrate the incredible complexity and depth of our shared human experience.


a group of friends poses for the camera


Unraveling the Tapestry of Relationships, Community, and Humanity: Top Ten Documentaries




a large crowd of people with floats

Acclaimed filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand spent three years collecting real-life stories from 2,000 women and men in 60 countries. The resulting documentary—a combination of these testimonies and aerial imagery—offers a deep dive into what it means to be human today.


Won't You Be My Neighbor?

a smiling man puts on a red sweater

An exploration of the life, lessons, and legacy of iconic children's television host, Fred Rogers. The documentary portrays how Mr. Rogers's kindness and empathy helped shape a generation of children, with his simple yet enduring message: we should love ourselves and others.


Faces Places

a boy listening to music lying on a rock

Legendary filmmaker Agnès Varda and photographer JR co-direct this remarkable documentary, which sees them journey through rural France and form an unlikely friendship. Along the way, they create large-scale portraits of locals, honoring the humanity in their subjects, and the power of art and connection.


My Octopus Teacher

a diver with an octopus

When a filmmaker forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, he learns as the animal shares the mysteries of her world. It's a fascinating tale of mutual respect and discovery between species, illuminating the intricacies of the natural world.


The Kindness Diaries

a bald man

Leon Logothetis, a broker turned travel host, relies on the kindness of strangers for shelter, food, and fuel in this touching series. The series serves as a reminder of the good in humanity, and how kindness can greatly impact a person's life.


El Father Plays Himself

a bearded man in profile in front of a movie camera shot by a young guy

In this documentary, a young filmmaker Jorge embarks on a cathartic journey back to his roots in Venezuela. His mission is to craft a cinematic masterpiece drawn from the rugged tapestry of his estranged father's life in the Amazon. As he delves into this unfamiliar territory, Jorge unravels a stirring narrative of addiction and loss, ultimately illuminating the transformative and healing potency of cinema itself.


Happy Too

a seated woman looks at a man in front of her dressed in a tuxedo and with a veil holding a high-heeled shoe

This documentary takes us behind the scenes of the acclaimed 2002 film, "Happiness is a Warm Gun," by director Thomas Imbach. This meta-documentary, shot concurrently with the main film that traverses archives, documentaries, and fiction to unravel an intense love story, offers an exclusive peek into the intimate creative exchanges between the director and his two principal actors. "Happy Too" illuminates the transformative journey undertaken by the film's makers, from the genesis of their concepts to their on-screen manifestation.


A Movie For You

a woman with red lips and a veil

In this film, a young Iranian director Iman Behirouzi confronts a life-altering decision to relocate to Germany for unprecedented opportunities. However, this means parting ways with his beloved girlfriend. Influenced by the legacy of Iranian cinematic masters like Abbas Kiarostami and Mohnsen Makhmalbaf, Behirouzi decides to dedicate a film to his girlfriend. Together with a talented actress, they meticulously recreate their first date. This enchanting reenactment evolves into an exploration of love's complexity and art's transformative power in mediating human dilemmas.


Stories From The Shower

a shower, red and white porcelain walls

This documentary explores the undercurrents of adolescent experiences within school showers and changing rooms. How do youths react to communal showering after gym class? The answers vary widely—some baring all with confidence, some choosing to shower in their underwear, and others masking their hesitation with an extra spray of perfume. This insightful short documentary unveils the changing room as an epicenter of both elation and struggle, a telling reflection of the vulnerabilities and insecurities that come with the teenage years.


Together We Grow

two long-haired women stroll in the garden

This Film directed by visionary filmmaker Jordan Osmond, paints an uplifting narrative of the Common Unity Project Aotearoa. The film shines a light on a burgeoning hub that fosters resilience within its community through acts of cultivation, craftsmanship, repair, and sharing. The motto? If it nurtures the community, Common Unity is on it—a testament to the power of collective action in sparking change and growth.


These films available on Guidedoc, Netflix, and other streaming services, remind us of the universality of human experience. They inspire us to celebrate our relationships and appreciate the richness they bring to our lives.


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