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Documentary Playlist: Perhaps We Are Like Stones


“I am beginning to believe that we know everything, that all history, including the history of each family, is part of us, such that, when we hear any secret revealed, a secret about a grandfather, or uncle, or a secret about the battle of Dresden in 1945, our lives are made suddenly clearer to us. For perhaps we are like stones; our own history and the history of the world embedded in us, we hold a sorrow deep within and cannot weep until that history is sung.”    —Susan Griffin

This playlist is all about family. No matter who we are or where we live, most of us were born into families and continually deal with family relationships of some sort, whether it’s with parents, mentors, partners, or children. 

We’ve chosen 6 films that deal with family in some way:

Buck
A look inside the life of Buck Brannaman, a man with an almost surreal aptitude for communicating with horses. He overcame tremendous odds to become the real life ‘horse whisperer.’

Capturing the Friedmans
A seemingly average middle-class American family is turned upside down when the father and youngest son are charged with sexually abusing neighborhood children. Through a strange criminal case, we learn about the elusive nature of truth.

Cutie and the Boxer
A candid New York love story exploring the chaotic 40-year marriage of famed “boxing” painter, Ushio Shinohara, and his artist wife, Noriko. Anxious to shed her role as her overbearing husband’s assistant, Noriko finds an identity of her own.

Grey Gardens
Meet Big and Little Edie Beale—mother and daughter, high-society dropouts, reclusive cousins of Jackie O.—thriving together amid the decay and disorder of their ramshackle East Hampton mansion. 

Stories We Tell
A highly original documentary that explores how we construct our own reality through stories. Sarah Polley’s family and friends weave different narratives into a complex portrait of her mother who died when Sarah was eleven. 

The Crash Reel
A dramatic story of one unforgettable athlete: Kevin Pearce; one eye-popping sport: snowboarding; and one explosive issue: Traumatic Brain Injury. A comeback story with a difference.

If there’s anything these six films reveal, it’s that no two families look the same, but understanding one’s history is oftentimes the key to understanding one’s self.