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Daniel Barnes’ top five documentaries of 2016
True crime, class structures and obscenely rich people: SN&R film critic Daniel Barnes highlights five films that stuck to real life to tell a compelling, unforgettable story.
1. Cameraperson: Kristen Johnson pours her soul into this highlight reel-cum-memoir, challenging our notions about documentary film making while offering profound insights into mortality, poverty, war, narrative structure, power structure, racism, sexism, violence and motherhood.
2. O.J.: Made in America: The O.J. Simpson murder trial collided race, class, justice and celebrity in a manner that continues to fascinate and nauseate, but the trial doesn’t even start until roughly halfway through Ezra Edelman’s thoroughly engrossing eight-hour American panorama.
3. Do Not Resist: Craig Atkinson directs this distressingly relevant examination of the militarization of American police, and the disproportionately violent force exacted on black communities as a result. Skin-crawling terror that puts most horror films to shame.
4. Tickled: David Farrier and Dylan Reeve’s take a tabloid-ready tale (the world of “competitive tickling”) and turn it into something thematically rich and unexpectedly emotional, finally forming a portrait of obscene privilege running amok.
5. Fire at Sea: A gorgeous and powerful neorealist documentary that contrasts the immigrant crisis on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where thousands of African refugees wash up every year, with the relatively sleepy day-to-day lives of the island residents.