Charity Magazine

5 of the Best: Documentary Cinema

By Frontiergap @FrontierGap

The Cove

The Cove tells the story of Ric O’Barry the former dolphin trainer of ‘Flipper’ fame and his efforts to bring attention to and halt the massacres of dolphins which occur every year, in the small Japanese whaling community of Taiji.

The Academy Award winning film chronicles activists and their various attempts to disrupt and film the killings. This culminates in a covert filming operation revealing some of the most harrowing scenes of animal cruelty you are ever likely to witness.

An utterly enthralling piece of cinema, The Cove may be over the top at times but the facts are genuinely shocking and it is guaranteed to make you think more about some of the appalling effects the whaling industry has on the ocean.

African Cats

Narrated by Samuel L Jackson this Disney financed film tells the true story of two families’ attempts to survive in the African savannah. The film follows Sita the cheetah; a mother to five new-born cubs, Mara the lion cub and her mother Layla, and Fang; the leader of the pride.

The Disney stamp makes for a more style over substance approach when compared with some of the other documentaries here, but the high definition shots of the savannah make for a simply astounding viewing experience.

Proceeds from the film were donated to the African Wildlife Foundation which in turn contributed to the preservation of 50,000 acres of Kenya’s Amboseli Wildlife Corridor.

Grizzly Man

Grizzly Man is the story of the rather extraordinary Timothy Treadwell and his fatal attempt to live with and protect the bears of Alaska. Directed by equally extraordinary filmmaker Werner Herzog the film is a product of over 85 hours of footage shot by Treadwell as well as interviews with family and friends.

The juxtaposition of the bizarre character of Treadwell in the foreground of the clips whilst the majestic bears roam and frolic behind in the Alaskan wilderness makes for a truly fascinating watch.

Despite repeated warnings from park officials Treadwell was convinced he had an affinity with the bears and would often approach and touch them. He spent over 35,000 hours spanning 13 years with the bears in the Katmai National Park before he and his girlfriend were killed by the bears he had sworn to protect.

March of the Penguins

After the somewhat disturbing nature of Grizzly Man we’ll turn to the comforting sound of narrator extraordinaire Morgan Freeman and the undeniably cute sight of penguins. March of the Penguins documents the incredible journey that Emperor Penguins make to one of the harshest places on Earth in order to find a mate.

The film was shot by two French cinematographers in conjunction with the National Geographic Society and in the original French release (La Marche de L’Empereur) the family of penguins were in fact voiced individually by actors giving a first person perspective on this incredible event.

Another Academy Award winner, the films depiction of this epic ritual is a massive achievement in film-making with the crew working in temperatures as low as -58 degrees and facing 125mph winds.

An Inconvenient Truth

Every Prius driver and Whole Foods shopper’s favourite film; An Inconvenient Truth brings us the rather sensationalised facts regarding the threat of global warming. The trailer’s statement that the film will be “By Far the most terrifying film you will ever see” is bold at best, however the sentiments behind all the pizazz do ring true.

The enthusiasm of Al Gore at the heart of the film has made it ripe for parody over the years but the facts are undeniable and for those with a keen interest in combating climate change this is a must see.


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