The British Film Institute has a mouth-watering July program for across-the-pond documentary buffs and moviegoers. The series culls from BFI’s most recent Sight & Sound Poll of 340 critics, programmers and filmmakers in search of the greatest docs of all time.
The program, detailed here, spans the birth and life of the genre, from early ethnographic classic “Nanook of the North” and earth-shaking Soviet experiment “Man with a Movie Camera” to Claude Lanzmann’s Holocaust epic “Shoah” (here screened in its entirety) and Errol Morris’ “The Thin Blue Line,” which in 1988 was an early example of the true crime mysteries that are now the craze of the zeitgeist.
The rest of the series includes a double bill of Chris Marker’s ode to memory, “Vertigo” and cats “Sans Soleil” and Alain Resnais’ profoundly upsetting concentration camp doc “Night and Fog,” plus Agnes Varda’s “The Gleaners and I,” the Maysles’ (recently restored) “Grey Gardens,” Jean Rouch’s cinéma vérité art film “Chronicle of a Summer” and DA Pennebaker’s Bob Dylan portrait “Don’t Look Back.”
If you’re in the US, most of these films, with a little detective work, can be found on VOD.