Here is a selection of American documentaries featuring various themes, whether it’s social, political, film or music related.
Also check out our reviews of American movies

American Documentaries

Gimme Danger movie poster

Gimme Danger

in American Documentaries

Knowing how cool his movie soundtracks are, it’s not really surprising to see Jim Jarmush (Dawn by Law, Broken Flowers) devoting a documentary to one of the most iconic rock bands, The Stooges (see pictures of Iggy and the Stooges here).  Intertwining archive footage with a long interview with singer Iggy Pop – who also starred in Mr. Jarmush’s  most […]

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Electric Boogaloo

Electric Boogaloo

in American Documentaries

For those of us who grew up in the 80’s, Cannon Films were synonyms for an aging Charles Bronson blowing up dozens of punks in some desolated neighborhood or the almighty Chuck Norris shooting his way through the jungle. There is however much more to the – colorful – story of The Cannon Group, which is what this unofficial documentary […]

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Los Angeles Plays Itself

Los Angeles Plays Itself

in American Documentaries

Dating back to 2003, this somewhat confidential documentary had gained an almost cult status among Los Angeles cinephiles before finally getting a proper release on Blu-Ray, DVD and streaming. A labor of love written and directed by local film scholar Thom Andersen, Los Angeles Plays Itself documents LAs’ onscreen incarnations, from the early days to modern cinema. The film provides […]

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The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga review

The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga review

in American Documentaries

With The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga, filmmaker Jessica Oreck uses a folk tale to deliver a contemplative, philosophical work about nature and civilization. Intertwining animated sequences – the tale of two kids lost in the forest – and images of Eastern Europe, she underlines the close bound between man and nature in this part of the world, most […]

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Manakanama

Manakanama

in American Documentaries

If you consider watching Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez’s documentary Manakarama, you should be warned that this meditative, naturalistic piece is as minimalist as it can be:  The filmmakers just placed their camera in a cable car heading to the Manakamana temple in Nepal and observed silently the occupants whether they go up or down the hill. The film is, […]

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Casting By

Casting By

in American Documentaries

As its title suggests, this documentary by Tom Donahue pays tribute to casting directors, one of the most underrated professions in the movie industry. The film principally focuses on Marion Dougherty, a pioneer in that field. Starting her career in New York working for T.V. series, she then moved to Hollywood, changing forever the way movies were casted. She became […]

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Vampira And Me

Vampira And Me

in American Documentaries

With her long figure, dark hair and black dress, Vampira is probably the original Goth icon, having established this trademark look years before Siouxsie Sioux emerged from the punk scene. The creator of a pioneering late-night Horror show, she is probably better known these days for her role in Ed Wood’s “masterwork”, Plan 9 From Outer Space. Originally discovered in […]

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Big Easy Express

Big Easy Express

in American Documentaries

The opening scene of this music documentary is surprisingly fluid and arresting: We follow a young woman as she walks joyful, almost dancing, through a train. As she inexorably advances through the wagons, she runs into a wide array of musicians before finally joining her own band mates. This girl is a member of the Los Angeles-based psychedelic group Edward […]

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