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The 10 Best Documentaries of 2012

While Influence Film Club’s 10 Best Documentaries of 2012 couldn’t be more representative of the incredible variety of documentary film’s available to watch and discuss, they all have one core theme – people facing a challenge and staying true to who they are. Whether that challenge be a one of oppression, a lack of justice, a broken system, carving out a creative space, or simply defining one’s personal truth. 2012’s best documentaries take a step outside of the box, tell the stories of our times in ways one might never expect, and invite discussion not only about the film’s themselves, but how we define and stand for who we are.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY takes a fascinating up-close look at renowned Chinese artist and activist, Ai Weiwei, as he prepares for a series of exhibitions and finds himself repeatedly clashing with the Chinese government.

The Act of Killing
THE ACT OF KILLING follows former Indonesian death squad leaders as they are challenged to re-enact the real-life mass killings in the cinematic genres of their choice, from classic Hollywood crime scenarios to lavish musical numbers. Note: We recommend that you watch the “Director’s Cut” version of this film

56 Up
Initially pitched as a documentary delving into the British class system, 56 UP revisits the same group of people every 7 years, from age 7 to 56, interviewing each and discovering just what the passing of time reveals and exposing their hopes and disappointments to a vast public.

Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present
MARINA ABRAMOVIC: THE ARTIST IS PRESENT follows the provocative performance artist Marina Abramovic as she prepares for a retrospective at MoMA in New York City, while also taking a closer look at her 40 year career.

Searching for Sugar Man
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN follows two fans seeking the truth about their hero – folk musician Sixto Rodriguez, who had a short lived career in the states but  – without the knowledge of Rodriguez himself – became a pop music icon in South Africa.

The Stories We Tell
STORIES WE TELL is 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 House I Live In
For 40 years, the War on Drugs has accounted for more than 45 million arrests and made America the world’s largest jailer and damaged poor communities globally. THE HOUSE I LIVE IN tells the stories of people from all levels of America’s drug war.

The Central Park Five
THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE examines the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a woman in Central Park. After having spent between 6 and 13 years each in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime.

The Invisible War
THE INVISIBLE WAR is a searing investigation into the cover-up of rape and sexual assault within the U.S. military that has helped change military policy.

Call Me Kuchu
In Uganda, a new bill makes homosexuality punishable by death. CALL ME KUCHU follows the activists working against the clock to defeat state-sanctioned homophobia while combating vicious persecution in their daily lives.