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Beyond “Documentary”: The Year in Cinematic Nonfiction

Beyond "Documentary": The Year in Cinematic Nonfiction

For Sight & Sound, Friend of Criticwire Robert Greene surveys the year in nonfiction, with a breadth and idiosyncracy that trumps the recirculation of the same handful of Sundance-approved docs in various year-end polls. The Act of Killing, which he calls “a nonfiction A Clockwork Orange,” is a familiar sight in first place, but after that, Green strikes out on his own, with The Last Station, a portrait of a Chilean nursing home, in second, and Adam Curtis’ live collaboration with Massive Attack (pictured) in third. Some movies, like 12 O’Clock Boys and Manakamana, will be eligible for most critics’ lists in 2014, and others, like Museum Hours and An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, don’t fit the conventional definition of documentary. (There’s also one, the Ukranian Sickfuckpeople, I’ve never even heard of.) But that’s the joy of an individual list, which leaves as much to discover as it does to cheer or argue with.

Robert Greene’s Best Documentaries of 2014:

1. The Act of Killing

2. The Last Station

3. Massive Attack vs. Adam Curtis

4. These Birds Walk

5. Sleepless Nights

6. Museum Hours

7. 12 O’Clock Boys

8. Stories We Tell

9. Pablo’s Winter

10. Manakamana

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