10 Recent Documentary Movies That Are Beautiful and Moving

6. Maidentrip (2013) Directed by Jillian Schlesinger

Maidentrip (2013)

Laura Dekker was fourteen years old when she began her long awaited and well earned one man voyage to sail around the world, retracing the route that her parents sailed around the time she was born. The adventure lasted for close to two years during which Laura’s life consisted of exploring new places and returning to the sea when the wind was good.

There is beauty in the bittersweet goodbyes between Laura and other sailors she connects with during her journey. Also when she finishes her journey in St.Martin and is greeted by a crowd of people, waiting to congratulate her on becoming the youngest person to ever sail solo around the globe. However the greatest beauty is witnessing her life on the sea.


7. Promises (2001) Directed by Justine Shapiro


“Promises” conveys the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the eyes of Israeli and Palestinian children, each from different walks of life and neighborhoods of the West Bank and Jerusalem. Shapiro began filming the children in 1995 when they were around the age of nine, and continued to film for the next four years. Creative cinematography and editing gives the documentary a story-like feel.

The personal lives of each of the children, as well as their opinions on the conflict are juxtaposed. Many of the children have astonishingly mature voices and ideas. In the end, the children agree to meet and spend a day together.

This documentary’s beauty lies in the children’s manner of viewing the conflict as well as in their genuine desire to find peace and understanding between Israelis and Palestinians.


8. Searching for Sugar Man (2012) by Malik Bendjelloul

Searching for Sugar Man

It is hard to believe that Sixto Rodriguez’s story is not fiction. While the musician’s work went unnoticed in the United States during the 1970’s, his stardom in South Africa was comparable to the likes of Elvis.

After many of his followers believed the rumor that he had committed suicide, two devoted fans set out to search for him. They looked to his lyrics for hints, and to their disbelief, found him in Detroit, Michigan. Once discovered, Rodriguez was informed of his music’s popularity and brought to South Africa to perform there for the first time.

The beauty in this documentary lies in the moment when Rodriguez first steps out onto the stage. It is felt in the applause from his audience and can be heard as they sing along to his songs. Their reaction as well as his own are overwhelmingly moving.


9. Unmistaken Child (2008) Directed by Nati Baratz

Unmistaken Child (2008)

Tenzin Zopa takes the viewer along for the most important quest of his life, fulfilling a Tibetan Buddhist monk tradition. The monk walks the crisp green landscapes of Nepal, searching for the reincarnation of his recently deceased teacher Geshe Lama Konchog.

The journey leads him through numerous towns, peering into the faces of countless children and conducting a series of tests until he finds the unmistaken child. Tenzin quickly forms a bond with the boy, as if they were old friends being reunited.What follows is the fascinating process of the approval stages and an array of ceremonies to welcome back Geshe Lama Konchog.

This story has the potential to bring every viewer to question their beliefs on reincarnation as well as to shed a tear of awe at the beauty of life’s mysteries.


10. Man on Wire (2008) Directed by James Marsh

Man On Wire

On August 7th, 1974, Philippe Petit walked across the morning sky on a wire strung between the twin towers of the world trade center in Lower Manhattan.

Man on Wire is a blend of both real footage as well as re-enactments of everything that happened leading up to the moment when Philippe placed his foot on the wire. Philippe reports having prepared for this day for the past six years of his life.The suspense builds as Philippe and his team go to lengthy measures in order to sneak into the building and prepare the wire. When the moment finally arrives, the rush of excitement, relief, and admiration will bring you to tears.

Author Bio: Claire studies filmmaking in Vienna, Austria. See her films on Vimeo here.