Here at Guidedoc we waited for the end of 2018 to present our favorite documentaries of the past year.
In the following list we include big releases, either on streaming platforms or at prestigious film festivals, among these are films that include anonymous characters but also very well known names, such as the judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton or the signature of filmmakers of the stature of veteran Frederick Wiseman.
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Active Measures by Jack Bryan
This documentary was a big phenomenon in the United States because of the burning political issue it deals with.
The film directed by Jack Bryan is a detailed investigation into the scandal of the alleged hacking operations by hackers hired by the Russian government to influence the internal politics of the United States, especially in the 2016 presidential elections when the current president Donald Trump was elected.
The interviews granted by Hillary Clinton (the loser of the elections) and Jonh Mackain, Trump’s main opponent on the Republican side, are especially valuable. The film reveals the historical ties of Trump and his real estate empire with the Russian mafia and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
RBG by Julie Cohen.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the associate justice of the supreme court of the United States, has recently become a popular icon due to her constant struggle for women's rights in America, and this is a documentary dedicated to her life.
Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, the documentary directed by Julie Cohen has become one of the most famous because of the friendly narrative it uses to tell the extraordinary life of this rebellious woman caught in middle of the most conservative institution within the establishment, the supreme court of justice.
Three Identical Strangers by Tim Wardle
The story of Edward, David and Robert, three triplets that were separated at birth and that were reunited some time later is the plot of this documentary. The film examines in detail the causes of this mysterious separation and exposes a theory that would explain it.
The film shows the evolution of the triplets since they became a television phenomnom after their reunion, until the tragic outcome that marked them for life, all this within a more psychological and dark part of the documentary. Something that is made known about the case is that this was, in fact, a psychological study started by Peter B. Neubauer.
Throughout the film, it is never left clear what was the purpose of the study, anyways, even though after years of waiting, the study records were finally made public.
Ex Libris: The New York Public Library by Frederick Wiseman
Shot entirely in the facilities of the New York Public Library, in the different venues that are scattered around the city, contrary to what one might think, this is not a film about books, but about the faces of people who come to seek knowledge under these roofs.
It is commendable how Wiseman portrays the faces of so many visitors, old people, adults, children, of all social classes, interests and tastes that come together in the most important educational institution in America. Being loyal to the way he makes documentary films, Wiseman takes an observational approach that makes an inventory of all the departments of the library.
It is especially interesting the discussions of the board members, where issues such as the future of the public access to knowledge and the financial challenges of institutions like these are open to question.
Minding The Gap by Bing Liu
This fresh documentary, full of juvenile blood, tells the story of three young people who find in skateboarding the way to channel the consequences of coming from difficult family environments.
Liu, a Chinese-American young man, films himself and his friends Zack, a white man, and Keire, a black man, who is younger than the rest. Their lives, united by the fact that their grew up with abusive families, is the backbone of the film.
The power of the documentary lies in the ability of the video material itself to show how an activity considered "rebellious" as skateboarding is in fact the only natural exit for this group of friends, and how that manages to save them from serious consequences in their lives.
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