The Must-Watch Documentaries About Cinema for Film Enthusiasts

Feb. 10, 2023

Watching documentaries about cinema and film can be an incredibly enriching and educational experience for anyone interested in the medium. These documentaries provide an in-depth look at the art, craft and business of filmmaking, giving viewers a deeper understanding of the creative process and the challenges that filmmakers face. They also offer a glimpse into the history of cinema, and the ways in which the medium has evolved over time.


Through the Camera Lens

A camera lens in a dark background

One of the main benefits of watching documentaries about cinema is that they provide an inside look at the filmmaking process. These documentaries often feature interviews with directors, producers, cinematographers, and other key members of the film crew, and showcase the work that goes into making a film. They can also reveal the challenges and obstacles that filmmakers face and the creative decisions that are made during the filmmaking process.


The Diversity of Cinema

 A turned on projector sitting on top of a box

Another benefit of watching documentaries about cinema is that they can offer insight into the history of cinema. These documentaries often cover the evolution of film-making techniques and styles, and provide a deeper understanding of the impact that different filmmakers and film movements have had on the medium. They can also showcase the work of pioneering filmmakers, as well as the lesser-known figures who have made significant contributions to the medium.


The Power of the Image

A highly colored and contrasted picture of a man directing in a set

In conclusion, watching documentaries about cinema and film can provide a deeper understanding of the art, craft and business of filmmaking, the history of cinema and the evolution of the medium, as well as allow the discovery of new films and filmmakers. They offer an enriching and educational experience for anyone interested in the medium, and can be a great way to deepen your appreciation for cinema.


Which documentaries about cinema can I watch online right now?


Cinema Futures

Martin Scorsese in an interview

Cinema Futures goes beyond the didactic documentary on the effects of digitization on every step of the production and distribution of a movie and instead approaches this important topic with a very unique lyrical perspective. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Christopher Nolan, and Martin Scorsese are among the geniuses whose testimonies are included in director Michael Palm's collection of stunning frames and scenes that evoke the traditional methods of filmmaking, shed light on the unsung geniuses who invented the moving image, and explore the never-ending debate about the future of the most popular art.


Visions of Light

A black and white photo of a man in a suit speaking to a woman in a dress

This documentary explores the art and craft of cinematography, featuring interviews with some of the most acclaimed cinematographers in the history of film. The film examines the relationship between the director and the cinematographer and how the visual style of a film can enhance its storytelling. Through a series of film clips, the documentary demonstrates how the work of the director and the cinematographer combine to create the visual style of a film. The film also examines the evolution of film technology, and how it has affected the art of cinematography.


Side by Side

David Lynch in a studio speaking to a man

This documentary explores the transition from traditional film to digital filmmaking, featuring interviews with some of the most respected figures in the film industry including James Cameron, David Fincher, and Martin Scorsese. The film examines the impact that digital technology has had on the film industry, from the way films are shot, edited and color graded, to the way they are distributed and consumed. It also looks at the economic and creative implications of this transition for the film industry, and how digital technology has changed the way films are made.


The Wonder Doctor

A pinned picture of a blonde woman smiling

Interesting theory by Stefan Theiler. He argues that seeing selected movies on a given subject can solve every personal or social issue that a person may have. The movie tells the tale of Stefan Theiler, a self-described "Movie Doctor" who hopes to improve the world by imparting his understanding of film and film history. Stefan is of the opinion that every issue that people or groups of people may be facing can be resolved by watching a certain film that serves as medicine, helping the subjects to mend their figurative wounds.


The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing

A gray haired man with glasses in a film editing studio room

This documentary delves into the art of film editing, exploring the impact it has on the final product and how it shapes the story. The film features interviews with legendary editors such as Walter Murch, Thelma Schoonmaker and Michael Kahn. The film examines the role of the editor in the filmmaking process, and how the work of the editor can transform a film. It also explores the technical aspects of editing, including the use of different techniques and software.


The Story of Film: An Odyssey

A man with a scotch skirt recording a black statue

This documentary series explores the history of cinema, from the invention of the motion picture to the present day, with a focus on the evolution of film-making techniques and styles. The series is divided into 15 chapters, each focusing on a different period in the history of cinema. It covers the silent era, the rise of sound, the golden age of Hollywood, the emergence of international cinema, and the impact of digital technology on the film industry. The series also features interviews with filmmakers and critics, as well as film clips and footage of behind-the-scenes.


Late Afternoon in Alentejo

A panoramic view of a lake

This visual meditation explores life in the rural Portuguese town of Alentejo as a kind of silent western. The aesthetic essay Late Afternoon in Alentejo examines the fundamental elements of cinematic art: light, movement, music, and pretension. A cinematographic structure is developed around references to the history of cinema, a revisiting of forms, styles, and models that made the cinema and its more direct antecedents: photography, painting, music, and theater. The Alentejo landscape is used as the canvas and the camera as an instrument for the expression of an original look.


American Movie

A man with a cap and glasses with a bearded long-haired man

This documentary follows the life of an aspiring independent filmmaker, Mark Borchardt, as he struggles to make his first film, "Coven" in the face of financial and personal difficulties. The film provides an unflinching look at the struggles of independent filmmaking, including the financial and personal sacrifices that are required to make a film. It also examines Borchardt's ambition, passion, and determination to make his film, as well as his relationships with his family and friends.


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