Of the many documentaries whose authorship stems from or extends into the literary world, these six films will, as Kafka suggests they should, wake you up, move you, and still thoroughly entertain. May these excellent documentaries, varying vastly in theme and topic, serve as cinematic extensions of their esteemed written counterparts, which have also been listed below.
The story of a chimpanzee who was the focus of a 1970′s experiment to show that apes could learn to communicate through sign language if raised and nurtured like a human child. Corresponding Book: “Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human” by Elizabeth Hess
The Devil Came on Horseback
Follows former US Marine Captain Brian Steidle as he documents the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. Upon his return to the US Steidle campaigns for international intervention and becomes frustrated by the inaction of politicians back home. Corresponding Book: “The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur” by Gretchen Steidle Wallace and Brian Steidle
The Kid Stays in the Picture
Based on Robert Evans’ autobiography, the film traces the rise and fall of one of Hollywood’s most legendary and admired producers with humour, honesty and an enormous amount of style. Corresponding Book: “The Kid Stays in the Picture: A Notorious Life” by Robert Evans
A 13-year documentary journey following two black American boys from kindergarten through high school graduation at one of the most prestigious private schools in the U.S. Corresponding Book: “Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life” by Michele Stephenson and Joe Brewster
Explores Roger Ebert’s legacy, including his Pulitzer Prize-winning film criticism at the Chicago Sun-Times, as well as his his eruptive relationship with Gene Siskel, both of which culminated in his ascension as one of the most influential cultural voices in America. Corresponding Book: “Life Itself” by Roger Ebert