Wednesday, 24 January 2018

5 Documentaries to Start Your Year Well

I don't know about you, but January is usually the month when I'm very determined to change my life. Let's just say motivation runs high. It's the perfect time to take in as many inspirational sources as possible—and I do tend to do that. This is the month I get the most job done and finish the most research. So it is crucial—heck, even critical—that I make the most of it. If you're like me too—or want to be so, I have a few recommendations of light but profound documentaries you can watch to widen your horizon and get you going for the rest of the year. Or, well, at least all through to July. These are not necessarily my absolute favourite documentaries on each topic, but they are a great introductions for newbies and a good way to kickstart your knowledge on the subject matter. Also, don't worry, they're all in English.

Where to Invade Next

Let's start with something profound, yet quite hilarious. This documentary by Michael Moore is really eye-opening. It teaches me a lot of things about other countries and, I think, if you're a US citizen, you could benefit a lot from this. It follows Michael Moore's journey himself, going from one country to another to find values and practices that he can "steal" to take back to the US. It opens his eyes to a lot of things his country is lacking—and, funnily enough, so is mine. Although it really brushes on a lot of profound and, possibly, sensitive topics, Moore manages to edit and narrate through everything to make them a bit more comedic and lighter to watch. My favourite part is when he and the crew went to Germany and Tunisia—both national values should really be applied to Indonesia, I believe. Very inspiring and entertaining!

The Next Black

As far as ethical fashion goes, I really cannot recommend anything better than The True Cost, but I do find that is incredibly jarring and overwhelming—I myself had to watch it twice to be able to take everything in. It's probably a bit intimidating to kickstart your knowledge. Alternatively, I would suggest you watch The Next Black, which is a documentary by AEG on the future of (ethical) fashion—and it's available for free! It is presented in such a lighthearted way, that it becomes a great way to learn about fashion and the environment, without having to suffer through the horrifying—albeit inescapable—parts of it. This documentary really opens up to so many possibilities, from the dry-dyeing—which sounds insane but highly innovative—to microfarming. It would leave you in awe to know that the alternative isn't actually that far away from us.

The Red Pill

Okay, I'll admit, this one is very heavy. But I just have to put this here, because I can't find any other documentaries discussing the same subject matter. You might know this from a post I wrote about it several months ago. It is the story of Cassie Jaye's journey in digging into the Mens' Rights Movement from the activists themselves. Cassie, who started the journey as a feminist, is willing to open her mind to ideas from both MRAs and feminists on the same topic. Truth be told, I find that the Mens' Rights Activists have a lot of valid points that I've never even thought of before. Their stories and experiences actually brought me close to tears. This documentary is also very controversial—having been banned in several countries, including Australia—so a lot of people have prejudices against it. I would suggest you watch it; you don't have to like it or agree with it, but you need to understand it.

Girl's Life

On the flipside, let me offer a truce through this six-part documentary series from Wall Street Journal—each of only less than 5 minutes—following a young girl's life from various countries and cultures. I know, there are probably far greater feminism documentaries out there, but I feel like this one is a very light yet profound—notice a running theme here?—piece on the subject. The girls are all around 15-16 years of age, with various economical and cultural backgrounds. I find it fascinating to see their insights on what it means to be a girl-turning-woman today to each of them, with their various aspirations and dreams. It also lets you take a peek into the life of people from different countries—and continents. It's a good introductory piece, in my opinion, into the world of feminism—especially in terms of education. Hopefully it will lead you to find more reading and watching materials on the topic.

Before the Flood

You've probably heard of this one already, since it's Leonardo Dicaprio's collaboration with National Geographic. Before the Flood is probably the second heaviest documentary mentioned on this list. It follows Leo's journey on finding out how far climate change has affected the world—including Indonesia. It made quite a headline when he came to Sumatra to see the forest fire and orangutans and got deported by our government, without so much as an excuse to why he was kicked out. Personally, I don't think this is one of those films, where the star sits on his high horse, telling everyone else to change. Politics is mentioned as playing a huge role in fighting climate change—and also why people refuse to believe in their existence. It's a good conversation starter, like peeling off the covers of oblivion you might not know existed before, to reveal the scary melted ice caps underneath. If only just a little bit.

If you have any other documentary recommendations, let me know!

Also, another great way to start your year is by reading books. Check out the video down below to see the five books I'd recommend you start with!

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