Forget fiction and try out these opinion-laden DVDs
Exit through the Gift Shop
In his first ever documentary, Brit graffiti artist Banksy turns the camera on Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant living in LA, whose quirky disposition and obsession with street art make him a comical muse. Amateur film enthusiast Guetta documents his every waking moment on camera and, after a chance meeting with Banksy, hooks up with the artist to record his footage, before producing his own art show. It’s a vivid insight into street art featuring some of the movement’s most famous names, including Shepard Fairey and Invader. Dhs26 at www.amazon.co.uk
This BAFTA award-winning series examines mankind’s relationship with nature. Each episode looks at how humans have managed to adapt to the extremes of our planet; the arctic, mountains, oceans, jungles, grasslands, deserts, rivers and even the urban jungle. From the daring African tribe who steal the kill from under the noses of a pride of lions to the Bedouins who, through years of back-breaking work, have managed to create an oasis for themselves in the middle of the desert, this series shows the epic struggles that many people have to tackle on a daily basis just to survive (not that we want you to feel guilty while watching this in the comfort of your luxury corniche apartment, of course). Dhs158 at Virgin Megastore
Is clean drinking water a basic human right, or a commodity that should be bought and sold like any other article of commerce? Stephanie Soechtig’s debut documentary examines the big business of bottled water – a topic that’s close to home for many of us living in the Middle East, especially in the summer. Soechtig’s film takes us behind the scenes for an inside look at the unregulated and unseen world of an industry that aims to privatise and sell back the one resource that ought never to have been a commodity: our water. From Dhs43 at www.amazon.co.uk
Taxi to the Dark Side
After the horrific events of 9/11, the US made drastic changes to its process of terrorist interrogation. Using the torture and death of an innocent Afghan taxi driver in 2002 as the touchstone, this Oscar-winning documentary examines these changes, showing how the CIA started to use tactics such as sleep deprivation, assault and waterboarding to extract information from detainees. Though difficult to stomach at times, Taxi to the Dark Side is an intensely powerful, unmissable watch. Dhs23 at www.amazon.co.uk
Wonders of the Universe
British physicist Brian Cox follows his groundbreaking Wonders of the Solar System with another exploration of the great unknown. This four-part series explores different aspects of the universe, from the nature of time to the elements of life, and illustrates how mind-blowing this largely unexplored place is. It’s a superb cinematic experience (watch it with the lights off and the curtains drawn), and Cox’s entertaining narration is the icing on the cake. Dhs110 at Virgin Megastore
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