Docs, Perfect for a Lazy Christmas Day

December 25, 2012

By Katrice

This will be happening today: Family. Food. Gifts. Documentaries. And not in any certain order. I love a relaxing Christmas day with good movies and documentaries on deck. If you're the same, I've got a must-see list that will be perfect for the feet propped up position. 

1. The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
If you haven't seen this yet, go now! The Black Power Mixtape examines the evolution of the Black Power Movement in the black community and Diaspora from 1967 to 1975. The film combines music, startling 16mm footage (lying undiscovered in the cellar of Swedish Television for 30 years), and contemporary audio interviews from leading African-American artists, activists, musicians and scholars. Not only did I watch it the first time through without budging, I found myself rewinding portions because the content was so powerful. 

2. The Trials of Henry Kissinger
What led me to this documentary was a constant stream of American Experience docs on former presidents of the U.S. I have found that good docs always lead you to others. Based on a book by journalist Christopher Hitchens, the film includes interviews with historians, political analysts and journalists. It depicts former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as a warmonger responsible for military cover-ups in Vietnam, Cambodia and East Timor, as well as the assassination of a Chilean leader in 1970. You'll wish you'd majored in political science by the end of it.  

3. War Dance 
Set in civil war-ravaged Northern Uganda, this doc follows the lives of three youngsters who attend school in a refugee camp and find hope through a rich tradition of song and dance. It is a world in which children are abducted from their families and forced to fight in the rebel army ... So you feel the intensity of their dedication to something greater. The kids in this village give their all in preparation for travel to the capital city to take part in the prestigious Kampala Music Festival. Watch this with the young people in your circle. 

4. MARLEY, A film by Kevin MacDonald
MARLEY is the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, legend, and the man, from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. If you're a Bob Marley fan, you'll love it. If you're watching, like me, because you know little about him, you'll be intrigued. Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, never before seen performances, previously unreleased music, and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best. The story behind the "greats" always causes you to recalibrate. 

5. American Experience: FDR
Watch this film and understand where we are today — in society and politics. The policies and persona of Franklin Roosevelt set the cast of the "modern" presidency. He was unquestionably the most vital figure in the nation, and perhaps the world, during his 13 years in the White House. Engendering both admiration and scorn, FDR exerted unflinching leadership during the most tumultuous period in the nation's history since the Civil War. By the end of it, you'll feel like you lived through that era. 

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  1. Great list! I love watching documentaries. Saw Marley and that was very, very good. I'll be setting some time aside to check a few of these out--especially #3 "War Dance".

    1. Thank you! Me too. I'm always adding more to my list.


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