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Errol Morris’s 10 Documentaries to Watch List: Have You Seen Them All?

Errol Morris's 10 Documentaries to Watch List: Have You Seen Them All?

Every year the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (Nov 18-29) invites a key documentarian to make a list of non-fiction films to screen in the festival. In the past they’ve gone to the likes of Werner Herzog, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Ulrich Seidl, Heddy Honigmann and Rithy Panh. 

Morris’s Top 10 picks, below, include films by Herzog and Luis Bunuel

Morris will also conduct a Master Class moderated by doc maven Bill Nichols. And IDFA will also show six Morris films starting with his first, “Gates of Heaven” (1978), and running through “The Thin Blue Line,” “Fast Cheap And Out Of Control,” “Mr. Death: The Rise And Fall Of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.,” his Oscar-winning “The Fog Of War,” the hilarious “Tabloid” and confounding “The Unknown Known.”

Morris’s full list goes back in time and does not include all usual suspects; it leans toward the avant-garde. I share his love for pioneer Dziga Vertov’s ebullient “Man with a Movie Camera” and recent “Tales of the Grim Sleeper.” Looks like I’ve got some catching up to do!
“Bright Leaves” (USA, 2002) dir. Ross McElwee
“Fata Morgana” (Germany, 1971) dir. Werner Herzog
“It Felt Like a Kiss” (UK, 2009) dir. Adam Curtis
“Land Without Bread” (Spain, 1932) dir. Luis Buñuel
“Let There Be Light” (USA, 1946) dir. John Huston
“Man With A Movie Camera” (USSR, 1929) dir. Dziga Vertov
“One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevitch” (France, 1999) dir. Chris Marker
“Tales of the Grim Sleeper” (USA/UK, 2014) by Nick Broomfield
“The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On” (Japan, 1987) dir. Kazuo Hara
“Welfare” (USA, 1975) dir. Frederick Wiseman

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Jeffrey Ruoff

Errol Morris and I have similar tastes. My essay "Land Without Bread: An Ethnographic Surrealist Film" may also be downloaded for free from my website.

Jeffrey RUOFF

A pdf of the book on "Naked Army" may be downloaded for free at my website.

Jeffrey Ruoff

In 1998, my brother Ken and I published a book on Hara’s "The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On," (We also wrote the liner notes for the DVD.) It is one of the all-time greats, also a big inspiration for Michael Moore when he was working on "Roger and Me."

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