7 documentaries to change the way you think

By Marilynn McLachlan

Larry David, left, and Producer Laurie David attend Radius' Los Angeles Premiere of FED UP. Photo / AP
Larry David, left, and Producer Laurie David attend Radius' Los Angeles Premiere of FED UP. Photo / AP

Fed Up is a new documentary film that alters perceptions about sugar, surging obesity rates and the resulting diseases, as well as food industry-sponsored misinformation.

It is one of many successful documentaries to gain insight and awareness around social, environmental and health issues.

Here are seven popular documentaries that changed the way people think about issues affecting our world.

1. An Inconvenient Truth - 2006


Photo / Wayne Drought

This documentary film, directed by Davis Guggenheim, is about former United States Vice President Al Gore's mission to educate about global warming. Focused around a presentation Gore has shown around the world, it gives scientific opinion as well as predictions of what will happen to the world if humans don't change their ways.

Watch: An Inconvenient Truth trailer

2. Mind the Gap - 2013

This hour-long documentary, featured on Inside New Zealand last year, saw Bryan Bruce respond to questions such as why the "top" 10 percent of New Zealander's own 50 percent of the country's wealth, while the "bottom" own nothing at all. By tracking case studies, he showcased the growing gap between rich and poor, its causes and its consequences.

Find out more about the Mind the Gap documentary here.

3. Earthlings - 2005

This epic documentary lays bare the suffering of animals for food, fashion, pets, entertainment and medical research. Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, it became known as the "vegan maker" documentary because of its powerful and often violent images of the abuse animals suffer at the hands of humans.

Watch: Earthlings trailer

4. Affluenza - 1997

This one-hour documentary showcases the ugly consequences, both socially and environmentally, of obsessions with wealth, materialism and overconsumption. It was later published as a book of the same name. It highlights the never-ending effort of "keeping up with the Joneses" and the addictive pursuit of "living the dream" by looking at advertising, economics and the human need to always want more.

Find out more about the Affluenza documentary here.

5. Blackfish - 2013

This documentary tells the story of a captive orca named Tilikum, who was captured at the age of two to be a trained performer at SeaWorld. Tilikum went on to kill three people. It lays bare the treatment of orcas in captivity for the benefit of the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry.

Watch: Blackfish trailer

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6. Bowling for Columbine - 2002

Written and narrated by Michael Moore, this documentary explores the factors he thought were involved in the lead up to the Columbine High School massacre, which resulted in the deaths of twelve students and one teacher. It features insights into America's gun culture and the pervasiveness of fear that motivates people to carry guns.

Watch: Bowling for Columbine trailer

7. Super Size Me - 2004


Photo / Glenn Jeffrey

This documentary follows Morgan Spurlock as he commits to spending one month eating nothing but McDonald's food. He ate at the restaurant three times a day, gained over 11 kgs and experienced many physical and psychological issues in doing so. It showcased the power of the fast food industry, the rising obesity epidemic and the impact of poor nutrition.

Watch: Super Size Me trailer

- nzherald.co.nz

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