I have a flair for finding very obscure independent and documentary films. The so-called “categories” the Netflix algorithm cooks up for me string together unlikely adjectives like “visually striking cerebral foreign movies” and “understated biographical documentaries.”
I love stories about people who “find the grain in their own wood.” Especially really eccentric artists and musicians, geniuses, misfits, and social underdogs who persevere despite overwhelming odds and succeed on their own terms. There is something completely riveting about watching a soul express what it was born to do in an unvarnished way. To me, these true originals creating against all odds deserve an Oscar.
An iconoclast is “a person who attacks established or traditional concepts, principles, laws, etc.” But most of the people chronicled in the list below aren’t overtly against anything. They are strongly for something, following their own calling and the creative impulse so closely and intently that the warp and woof of societal norms bends and shapes in their wake. Still they don’t look up. They do what the do, be who they be, out of love.
So here is my list of obscure documentary films that deserve an Oscar. Click on a link below to see a trailer or related clip.
• Agnes Martin: With my Back to the World
• A Man Named Pearl
• Born Into Brothels
• Emmanuel’s Gift
• Ram Dass: Fierce Grace
• Hoop Dreams
• Into Great Silence
• Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind
• Man on Wire
• My Flesh and Blood
• Rivers and Tides
• The Cruise
Check out at least one or two of these films and let me know what you think.