Five Excellent Documentaries About Storytelling

There is so much to learn about the art of storytelling. These films are a great place to start.

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A decent search of the internet failed to uncover any documentaries specifically about the art of storytelling.

We spy an opportunity there…

Fortunately, there are a legion of excellent documentaries that tell their stories particularly well and therefore, in an indirect way, teach you about this wonderous art form.

So, without further ado, here are our top 5:

1. Stories We Tell by Sarah Polley

An extraordinary tale of the secrets and lies carried by one family. Sarah Polley is a master of suspense and keeps the viewer in the dark until the very end which makes this story so utterly engaging to watch.

2. The Imposter by Bart Layton

An unnerving but well crafted film about a 23 year old Frenchman who pretends to be the 16 year old missing son of a Texan couple. It’s a brilliant example of the power of stories. Both the ones we are told and the ones we chose to believe. Unmissable.

3. Senna by Asif Kapadia

A marvellous piece of filmmaking about the talented Formula One driver Ayrton Senna who died aged just 34 at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix in Imola, Italy. The director painstakingly weaves a cohesive and compelling story from archival footage, new footage and recordings of the fateful driver’s own voice acting as a kind of posthumous narrator. Kapadia makes your really care about Ayrton even if you have no interest in the sport at all.

4. Man On Wire by James Marsh

It’s hard to believe that this happened in real life. So breathtaking is the idea of walking on a tightrope between the Twin Towers with no safety harness that you have to see the archival footage with your own eyes to believe it. It’s an amazing testament to the ambition of man to overcome the seemingly impossible.

5. Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room by Alex Gibney

Another great demonstration of the power of storytelling. In this case, it’s a tale of how a bunch of smart, ruthless and ambitious men sold themselves and their investors a story that in hindsight was simply too good to be true. The depth of the lies within the stories they told at times beggars belief. How did they get away with it for so long?

Which documentaries would make your list? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

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