#Afilmclub - Documentaries Part 1

I sometimes despair that I will probably never manage to see all the films I'd like to. Unbelievably, "12 Years a Slave" and "The Imitation Game" still sit on my shelf with the plastic wrappers on. I'm currently wading through Gilmore Girls (I'm so emotionally involved, it's unreal) after Mike and I enjoying a phase of watching documentaries.

Real life can be just as wonderful as fiction, which is why I love reading autobiographies so much. If you haven't watched many documentaries, I highly recommend them. Whatever you're interested in, I guarantee there's a film about it; they can also reveal whole worlds you had no idea existed. Here are some I watched recently.

Man on Wire

I'd skimmed over watching this for a long time because I was relatively familiar with the story; In 1974, a Frenchman called Philippe Petit illegally rigged a wire between the twin towers buildings in New York and walked across. He spent nearly an hour dancing and performing on the wire, before he was arrested and taken for psychological evaluation.

Another reason I'd given it a miss is that people doing stupid things for the sake of it just makes me cross. The book and film "Into the Wild" about Chris McCandless leaving behind his family wealth to live (and die) penniless in Alaska was inspiring to some, but not to me. I find needless danger is usually the pursuit of affluent white people and I don't find it romantic.

That being said, this is an interesting film. Petit is obviously a bit on the mad side and it's strange how someone can be consumed by their "art" in whatever form it takes. He just has to climb, he can't help it and will suck in all of his friends and his partner in the pursuit of the ultimate tight rope walk. 


Real Talk host Bill Maher is a raging atheist, so he and I have that in common. In his documentary Religulous, he travels all over the world meeting people of different faiths to take the piss out of them.

This documentary doesn't really inform or tell any particular story, it seems to exist purely to mock the religious. I don't strictly have a problem with that but that's because Maher and I are of one mind. If you aren't an atheist, this film isn't designed to change your opinion so I'm not sure what you would get out of it. It is extremely amusing, though.

The King of Kong

One night, Mike said: "Can we put on one of my favourite documentaries? It's about Donkey Kong." I love Donkey Kong and used to play it religiously on my Nintendo, but I had no idea how this could possibly be a worthwhile topic for a documentary.

I was wrong. I WAS SO WRONG. I, hand on heart, have never been so emotionally involved with any film as I have been with this one. There is a whole other world of competitive arcade gaming I never knew about. This documentary follows Billy, who is the world champion of Donkey Kong (and a total arsehole) and Steve, a middle school teacher who is trying to beat his record. Please, please, please get a copy of this if you can. You will be screaming at your television. I promise.

The Barkley Marathons

Mike was watching this one evening in the bedroom when I was writing next door in the living room. I came through to check on him and ended up watching the whole film with him.

The Barkley marathon is one of the hardest endurance races in the world. In 25 years, only 10 people have completed it. It's a test in every sense of the world and the wikipedia page explains it better than I can. I felt really inspired after watching it and it's on Netflix!


#afilmclubLauren Aitchison