These are the best international documentaries 2020 ranked. There are over 70 of them. Although the majority are English, foreign language truth-telling dominates the top spots. Below my summary are their trailers.
The best documentary educates and makes a difference. ‘Collective’ gets the #1 position because it kept building and revealing, and then changed the dirty Romanian government. Corruption is the greatest challenge of our times, so this is an important lesson in that our silence can result in our death… or a change in our politicians.
As power consolidates and democracy vanishes, more journalists and activists are getting killed. Consequently, they need attention. Accompanying ‘Collective’ was ‘Welcome to Chechnya’, ‘A Thousand Cuts’, ‘Battle for Hong Kong’, ‘I Am Greta’, ‘Kingdom of Silence’, ‘The Art of Political Murder’ and ‘The Fight’.
‘The Fight’ crosses genres into the insanity that USA politics has been. The Democrats overwhelmingly outdid Republicans with their filmmaking. Alex Gibney, one of the world’s greatest documentarians, provided the covert and important ‘Totally Under Control’ it’s the best covid-19 movie so far. ‘537 Votes’ showed how damaged American politics is, that sociopathic lust for power far outweighs human rights. For those who just see it as a battle between different sized devils, then ‘Interreflections’, from the creator of ‘Zeitgeist’, is essential viewing for the intelligent and patient viewer.
Music documentaries were exceptional. ‘Zappa’ is the most interesting character and a spirit after my heart. However, The Bee Gees, with the awfully titled ‘How Can You Mend a Broken Heart’ was so damned good it has to be my top recommendation. I also have no love for the pop music of Taylor Swift but her intimate ‘Miss Americana’ made me want to be her friend… and got me listening to her covid albums, ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’, which are the most mature and best she’s done. For those seeking more of her, she matched her two releases with two documentaries, the second being ‘Folklore: The Long Pond Sessions’.
The most unique are ‘The Painter and the Thief’, ‘Dick Johnson Is Dead’, ‘Spaceship Earth’ and ‘My Octopus Teacher’. They were delightfully heartwarming, as was ‘The Dog Doc’.
The most important documentaries affecting our future are ‘The Social Dilemma’, ‘I Am Greta’, ‘The Pollinators’, ‘Koi’ and ‘The Perfect Weapon’ – c’mon, Planet Earth, wake up!
Lovers of biopics can do no better than watching ‘Audrey’ and ‘Natalie Wood’ as a double-feature.
Black Lives Matter was well represented by ’40 Years a Prisoner’, ‘John Lewis’, ‘Time’ and the poetically powerful ‘Between the World and Me’.
‘City Hall’ would be considered by some to be the most boring documentary they’ve seen but if they watched its full 4 and a half hours they would have realised that it’s essential viewing. I initially needed patience but became engrossed on xmas day. Director Frederick Wiseman has been making documentaries for 57 years. His technique isn’t sensationalism. He shows us how things work. In this case, it was an education in how the city of Boston’s government is run, from creating wheelchair access to the problems the police have doing their job.
HBO was the best creator, with 16 included in this list. Netflix delivered 10. And I became a follower of Greenwich Entertainment who, despite being a small distribution house, gave me 5 quality enjoyments.
This was the best year for gaining knowledge whilst being entertained. If you watched just one per week, your opinions shot from a stronger position… and your brain scan glowed as a better human being.
Enjoy the best documentaries 2020!
1. Collective (Romania 2020) trailer
2. Welcome to Chechnya (Russia) trailer
3. Bee Gees trailer
4. Athlete A trailer
5. Zappa trailer
6. Acasa, My Home (Romania) trailer
7. Spaceship Earth trailer
8. Battle for Hong Kong trailer
9. I Am Greta (Sweden) trailer
10. Kingdom of Silence trailer
11. A Thousand Cuts (Philippines) trailer
12. Crip Camp trailer
13. The Painter and the Thief trailer
14. Crazy, Not Insane trailer
15. 537 Votes trailer
16. The Art of Political Murder trailer
17. Other Music trailer
18. The Social Dilemma trailer
19. Totally Under Control trailer
20. Audrey trailer
21. Miss Americana trailer
22. My Octopus Teacher trailer
23. Dick Johnson Is Dead trailer
24. Rockfield trailer
25. The Dog Doc trailer
26. David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet trailer
27. Macho: The Hector Camacho Story trailer
28. Boy’s State trailer
29. The Fight trailer
30. Crock of Gold
31. Jimmy Carter, Rock and Roll President trailer
32. My Psychedelic Love Story trailer
33. Ryuichi Sakamoto – Coda trailer
34. The Perfect Weapon trailer
35. Natalie Wood – What Remains Behind trailer
36. Overseas trailer
37. Time trailer
38. Blackpink Light Up the Sky trailer
39. The Go Gos trailer
40. 40 Years a Prisoner trailer
41. White Riot trailer
42. The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne trailer
43. Koi trailer
44. After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News
45. The Pollinators
46. Interreflections trailer
47. American Murder: The Family Next Door trailer
48. JR Bob Dobbs and Church of the Subgenius trailer
49. The Donut King trailer
50. City Hall trailer
51. The Soul of America trailer
52. Desert One trailer
53. John Lewis – Good Trouble trailer
54. Scheme Birds trailer
55. The Scheme trailer
56. Rewind trailer
57. Beastie Boys Story trailer
58. Class Action Park trailer
59. Get Back Up
60. Showbiz Kids trailer
61. Square One trailer
62. Between the World and Me trailer
63. On the Record trailer
64. Finding Jack Charlton trailer
65. A Secret Love
66. Coyote – The Mike Plant Story trailer
67. The Soviet Garden trailer
68. Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds trailer
69. Wild Combination – A Portrait of Arthur Russell trailer
70. The Booksellers
71. Folklore – The Long Pond Studio Sessions trailer
72. Under the Grapefruit Tree: The CC Sabathia Story trailer
73. Bruce Springsteen’s Letter To You trailer
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DOCUMENTARIES NOT WATCHED YET BUT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED