Thursday, June 13, 2024

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    The 5 best documentaries of 2023

    There have already been quite a few great releases this year, and we’ve picked out a few that you’ll definitely want to check out (especially now that the weather is starting to get colder).

    20 Days in Mariupol

    This tense documentary of the siege of the city of Mariupol by Russian forces in February and March 2022 immerses you in the shock and horror of the early days of the Ukrainian war. As instructed by Mstyslav Chernov, a Ukrainian journalist with the AP who was a small group of international press who remained in the city to document the Russian offensive 20 days in Mariupol makes you feel the cold of an urban battlefield in winter, the shock of surprise air raids (including the infamous targeting of a maternity ward) and the determination of Chernov and his colleagues. Their efforts to find a valuable satellite link – often out in the open – and bring the news to the rest of the world is an illustration of modern day heroism.

    The Deepest Breath

    As the subject of the documentary, freediving has the deadly big waves of surfing and the cosmopolitan air of Formula 1. Freediving champion Alessia Zecchini is in the documentary as a living heroine, beautiful and tragically monomaniacal. This poignant film tells her story and follows her love affair with Irish diver Stephen Keenan, who runs a freediving training facility in Dahab, Egypt, where Zecchini goes to train. Tragedy, when it comes, is but inevitable.

    Donyale Luna: Supermodel

    Donyale Luna was the first model of color to appear on the cover of Vogue. In the 1960s and 1970s she was undeniably an It girl, appearing in everything that was hype at the time such as her appearances in Andy Warhol films. And yet for all her achievements the majority of the population has no idea. This documentary aims to change that. Featuring her friends and family and guided by Luna’s diaries, HBO’s Donyale Luna: Supermodel tells the story of how Peggy Ann Freeman, born in Detroit in 1945, became Donyale Luna, one of brightest fashion stars.

    Turn Every Page

    The relationship between writer and editor is the fascinating subject of this heartfelt documentary by Lizzie Gottlieb, daughter of the late, legendary editor Robert Gottlieb. He is one half of the film’s odd couple. The remaining ½ is none other than Robert A. Caro, the biographer of Robert Moses and Lyndon B. Johnson.

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