We celebrate release of Into the Abyss with this round-up
We admit to secretly liking an action-overloaded blockbuster or cheesy rom-com as much as the next person, but in our opinion, nothing beats a good documentary. Insightful, edgy and sometimes shocking, a decent real-life movie can stay with you for life, open your eyes to a topic you previously knew nothing about, and provide excellent dinner-party conversation. What better time to broaden your knowledge than during your Ramadan downtime? Here, we check out Oscar-nominated filmmaker Werner Herzog’s latest feature, which is now available on DVD, and dig out four more of our favourites.
Into the Abyss (2011) A revealing insight into capital punishment laws, Werner Herzog’s latest documentary focuses on two Texan prison inmates (one of whom is currently on death row) who were charged with triple murder when they were 18 years old. Herzog is known for his slow-burning filmmaking style, often letting the camera roll to capture his subjects uninhibited. His eerie monotone interview voice adds to the sombre feel of the film, in which he shows both sides to the story, that of the victims’ families and the man on death row. From Dhs48, www.amazon.com.
Buck (2010) This picturesque profile on horse whisperer Buck Brannaman is an uplifting insight into how humans can overcome adversity. Brannaman, who acted as an off-screen consultant to Robert Redford in The Horse Whisperer, travels the world giving workshops on how to train horses using a kind-natured, revolutionary style. His gentile approach and character seems even more impressive when it’s revealed that his childhood was marred by abuse. Dhs48, www.amazon.com.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011) Foodies will get a kick out of this documentary, which follows 85-year-old chef and sushi master Jiro Ono, owner of the modest ten-seater and three Michelin-starred Sukiyabashi Jiro, located in a Tokyo subway station. The film explores Ono’s dedication to his art and the relationship with his eldest son, Yoshikazu. From Dhs80, www.amazon.com.
Sound and Fury (2000) This Oscar-nominated feature tells the heart-wrenching story of a deaf couple who struggle with the idea of getting a cochlear implant for their five-year-old deaf daughter. As they research the technology, questions arise over how her identity as a deaf person would change in the hearing world. Expect lots of emotionally-fuelled signing and heated discussions. Inspiring and eye-opening. From Dhs35, www.amazon.com.
This Way Of Life (2009) Shot in New Zealand, this stunning documentary tells the story of the free-living Karena family and their fight to maintain a simple, meaningful life. A far cry from the bustle of the city, the long-haired warrior-style dad is like a toned-down Drogo from Game of Thrones: he hunts for food and glides on horse through rivers, while the elfin-like kids (some of them no more than five years old) ride bareback and eat peaches in the sun. It’s a visual feast for the eyes and comments on the measure of happiness. From Dhs90, www.amazon.com.