Besides their constant push to create original movies, Netflix is also becoming a treasure-trove for documentary enthusiasts. While Making a Murderer, The Keepers, and The Staircase achieved much critical acclaim, there are still many undiscovered documentaries that would grip you from the get-go and make you binge until you have heard the full story. After sifting and bingeing through hundreds of hours of documentary series and documentary feature-films, here’s our curated list of the best ones that we could find that no one is talking about:
Until I watched this, I didn’t even know that ‘dark tourism’ existed. David Farrier, a New Zealand-based journalist embarks on a unique journey across the world traveling to the most dangerous and eccentric places where no normal tourist being would want to go. Through his characteristic witty and humorous narration Farrier takes you into radioactive zones, mob communities and body-altering cults where he not only documents but also participates to satisfy his penchant for a ‘dark experience’.
Gay Talese has attained the status of a legend over the years as an investigative journalist. This time he takes up one of the most challenging and controversial projects he has ever done. Gerald Foos bought and re-built the Manor Motel with the sole purpose of being a voyeur to the people who would stay in his rooms. He meticulously wrote and documented what he saw for over four decades without anyone the wiser. At seventy-eight he comes clean with Talese, telling his story unbounded for the world to know that he existed. Although the premise may seem creepy at the outset, Voyeur shows you an intriguing perspective of what went inside the head of the man. In the words of Talese [not sic] – “It was not always about sex. In fact, sex was quite rare. Most of his voyeurism was spent observing people going through the tedium of life.”
Even after the phenomenal medical advances that have been made in our age, today thousands of people around the world live with afflictions that are bizarre and have no concrete medical explanation. Afflicted tells the story of six individuals who don’t have a normal existence anymore. Carmen suffers from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome wherein she can’t be near anything that emits even the slightest EMF radiation which is basically any electronic device today. She suffers from blinding headaches and spasms when she ‘feels’ EMF around her. Like her, Jamison suffers from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis aka Chronic Fatigue Syndrome wherein even the smallest of tasks is exhausting for him. He hasn’t left his bed in 2 years and needs 24/7 care. On the outset, all of these afflicted individuals would look perfectly normal except for their rigorous medication regimens that aim at curing them. The narrative is shown from their perspective and also from the perspectives of the people around them who helplessly see their loved ones suffering.
The Devil and Father Amorth
Adapted from the best-selling novel by William Blatty, The Exorcist was and, perhaps still, is considered to be the greatest horror film of all time. Director William Friedkin, who is an avid horror enthusiast himself, never stopped researching about exorcisms in the Christian world. In this documentary, which he has directed himself, Friedkin follows Father Amorth, an Italian priest who has been performing exorcisms for the Church for more than thirty years. With special permissions from the Church, Friedkin is allowed to record one particular exorcism of a woman named Christina. After the harrowing experience, he takes his recordings to various neurologists and psychologists to understand what could be the possible explanation of what he had seen. The documentary is a balanced take on understanding both religious and scientific beliefs with his characteristic background score that reminds you of the movie that put his name in history.
The cut-throat world of Business is not always as squeaky clean as it is shown to be. Dirty Money takes you behind some of the most infamous cases where big Businesses crossed all legal and moral lines for unmitigated profit. From the BMW NOX scandal to the HSBC’s involvement with Mexico’s Drug cartels, the series gives you an eye-opening account of how large organizations work-around legal loopholes and manage to pull off strategies without a care of its consequences to the society and to their employees.