10 Eye-Opening Documentaries That Will Make You a Better Person

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Rip! A Remix Manifesto, an eye-opening documentary

These 10 quality documentaries expose several facets of the current state of our modern society. The eye-openers portray an image of who we have become as Western societies.

These must-see documentaries stimulate us to question where we are going from here, whether we should continue with the way things are done, and if we should move in a different direction

In a just world,

  • businesses are held accountable to society,
  • certain groups of people aren’t left out in the dark draughty corners of our civilization,
  • highly intelligent animals would not be used and abused for shallow entertainmant,
  • people downloading, mixing art and creating music based on existing works would not be prosecuted,
  • scientific information essential to finding cures for diseases such as cancer would not be witheld from the public for financial gain of a minority.

Sadly, that is the world we live in. A world where corporate interests are considered by our “democratic” governments to be more important than human interests, justice and honesty.

Watching these documentaries may help you become a better person. Or at least better informed. Because after all, if we want our freedom (back) we should start with opening our eyes. Becoming aware.


1. The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz was a genius, a freedom fighter. A prodigious programmer and thinker who stood up for basic human rights in our Internet age. Already at a very young age he understood how essential freedom of information is.

Thanks to Aaron, being on the barricades for government transparency and information freedom, a breaktrough method to detect pancreatic cancers was found. But he accomplished much more, he took the lead in stopping SOPA. Aaron Swartz could have done so much more for humanity but he was killed by the system. The Internet’s Own Boy is a very impressive documentary and a true must-see.



2. The Canary Effect

A look at how the United States has treated its indigenous population over the past several hundred years. Such shameful practices are common all over the world, whether it concerns the aboriginals in Australia, the Maori in New Zealand or other indigenious peoples in other countries.

If you think about it, even when not having watched this or any documentary, it is an outrage of the first order. In our modern times where everybody could be informed and aware we are still treating these people like they are treated. Nobody seems to know or care. It just confirms how sick we are as a society.



3. Inside Job

Find out about the reasons behind our current economic crisis and how these “Masters of the Universe” bankrupt us for massive private gains for widespread public loss. An insight in the largest legalized scam humanity has ever faced. The public has been robbed on a worldwide scale and the crisis that ensued still paralyzes the world today. Seek out this documentary to learn how it all started.



4. Blackfish

A shocking and touching look into what really happens in SeaWorld and other marine parks. Featuring never-before-seen footage of performing whale Tilikum, who has killed several trainers. Here’s how it all went wrong.

Exposing the barbaric practice of keeping such highly evolved, enormously sentient fellow mammals in small cages leading miserable lifes for our perverted thrills. How training actually means starving and abusing these enslaved beings. It’s like Doug Stanhope said, “you’re not a trainer you’re a fuck-with-er”. In defense of the ex-trainers telling their gripping stories, they were being misled by the park management.

On a positive note, the negative publicity from the Blackfish documentary film has caused theme park attendance to fall and shares to tumble.



5. Sugar: The Bitter Truth

Sugar is a poison according to endocrinologist Dr. Lustig. This is not a metaphor, in this documentary the professor of clinical paediatrics shows how harmful sugar actually is. Sugar is addictive, toxic, harmful, and everywhere. Whether he is completely right remains to be seen.

And even though his take on sugar is not shared by other respected criticasters of the food industry, this documentary will make you think about your daily diet. And chances are you will cut back on sugar. I did. It made me feel more energetic. Even though I realize we’re generally best off when taking such advice with a grain of salt.



6. Four Horsemen

According to critics, the proposed solutions don’t make sense in this documentary. The Four Horsemen however will provide you with an eye-opening insight on how the global economy really works. A clear view of the current state of Western society. Today’s Four Horsemen – socially organized violence, debt, iniquity and poverty control all of our lives. A must watch for those who are wondering how it could have come this far.



7. The Corporation

The documentary shows the development of the contemporary business corporation to a legal entity entitled to most of the legal rights of a person while often not demonstrating any moral obligations. How lots of large corporations goals are only making money, even at the expense of society.

A serious concern is expressed over how corporations use their power and influence, how marketing and manipulation are used and which role corporations play in our society nowadays. Another documentary that goes in-depth on the topic of marketing targeting children is Consuming Kids.



8. Food, Inc

Food Inc. is an unflattering look inside America’s corporate controlled food industry. One of the best food documentaries out there. It shows how the food supply in the Western world is now controlled by a handful of corporations and how their focus is generally on profit in lieu of consumer health.

Featuring interviews with experts as Eric Schlosser (“Fast Food Nation”), Michael Pollan (“The Omnivore’s Dilemma”) Food, Inc. reveals surprising and often shocking truths about what we eat.

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” -Paul McCartney. Other well-received food documentaries are King Corn, Genetic Roulette, and The Gamble Of Our Lifes.



9. The World According to Monsanto

Exposing the highly disturbing practices of multinational agribusiness corporation Monsanto. In this documentary it is uncovered how the world’s leading producer of toxic PCB’s, Agent Orange and currently GMOs (genetically modified organisms) has an alarmingly tight (and malicious) grip on worldwide agriculture. Leading to global health concerns, endangerment of nature, and suicides among farmers being prosecuted because of curious laws in favor of this company.


10. RiP! A Remix Manifesto

World’s first open source documentary. Rip! A Remix Manifesto is about copyright issues in the Internet age and their effect on art. Especially the grey area of remixing existing works. However, all art is about remixing. Even Picasso said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal”.

The current laws are inhibiting the flow of art. The proliferation of information as well as the creation of music, visual art, video clips and other art forms are inhibited by outdated laws. Large media corporations, filing lawsuits against individuals are convulsions of dying mastodonts in an new era, heading for extinction if they don’t adapt.

“Culture always builds on the past, the past always tries to control the future, our future is becoming less free, and to build free societies, you must limit the control of the past.”

Other good documentaries on this topic are Good Copy Bad Copy (2007) Copyright and Culture Documentary and Steal This Film.




Reader contributions: Must Watch Documentaries According to Visitors

11. Earthlings


12. Capitalism: A Love Story


13. Racing Extinction



Image credit: RiP!: A Remix Manifesto


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