Source: The Manual
The Bleeding Edge (2018) – “The Bleeding Edge” exposes the sordid underbelly of the medical device market that convinces approximately 70 million Americans yearly that they need some kind of apparatus implanted into their body. The multi-billion dollar industry does some good, but a whole lot of harm, shilling products and procedures that, in many cases, haven’t even been properly tested. Revealing the complicity between the medical device industry and the community of healthcare practitioners and even the FDA, who refused to be interviewed for the film, “The Bleeding Edge” offers, if nothing else, a good reason to take better care of yourself.
13th (2016) – A searing work from director Ava DuVernay, “13th” shines a Klieg light on a twisted interpretation of the Constitution’s 13th amendment. It turns out the amendment that abolished slavery included a loophole. It actually permits the practice of slavery in certain contexts, including while in prison confinement. Taken together with the fact that American prisons are overwhelmingly populated by African-American men, it might be a good idea to have a notepad next to you as you watch this film to take down choice phrases for inclusion in a strongly worded letter to your elected officials.
The Toys That Made Us (2018) – While this docuseries will most definitely revive some beloved memories of playing with Legos and G.I. Joes, “The Toys That Made Us” builds some very non-schmaltzy nuance around those memories by telling you how, why, and by whom those toys were made. He-Man and Battle Cat were invented by a marketing team on the verge of a breakdown; Barbie was based on a German comic strip. It’s a great way to beef up your nostalgia with some meaningful nerdery. It’s like watching Saturday morning cartoons, except it will make you feel smarter.
The Trader (Sovdagari) (2018) – Clocking in at just 25 minutes, this portrait of daily life in the Republic of Georgia might be the shortest distance between entitlement and gratitude you’ll encounter all year. “The Trader” follows Gela, an old man who scavenges his neighborhood for potatoes, the principal currency of his poverty-stricken community, and trades them for other necessities. A winner of the Sundance Film Festival’s short film jury award for non-fiction in 2018, this documentary will at least get your mind off all the things you don’t have; at best, it may inspire you to share more with those in need.
Icarus (2017) – Thrilling, funny, and completely unpredictable, “Icarus” had an award-winning debut at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017, wowed audiences around the world, and took home an Oscar. The film starts off as one of those personal experimentation docs in which filmmaker Bryan Fogel goes all Morgan Spurlock in the competitive cycling world. In other words, he shoots himself full of performance-enhancing drugs. That would have been interesting enough, but then Fogel stumbles across Grigory Rodchenkov, the guy who oversees the state-sanctioned doping program for the Russian Olympic team. In other words, you go from personal experiment to inside sports to political conspiracy exposé, all in just two very quick hours.
See the rest of the list at The Manual.
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