Library has collection of classic and new documentaries

We are in a golden age of documentary films. The availability of inexpensive, quality cameras and production equipment has made everyone into a documentary filmmaker.

More and more film festivals are recognizing documentary as its own art form with award categories and fanfare. Documentary exclusive film festivals are popping up all over the place. The Internet and Netflix are making it easy for anyone to view great documentaries of all kinds. All in all, it is a good time to be a documentary, and, in my opinion at least, it is all well deserved.

A good documentary can make you laugh and cry just as well as any fiction film and often you will learn something new in the process. Besides the Internet and Netflix, another great place to find documentaries is at your public library.


The West Linn Public Library has a large collection of new and current documentaries as well as classics of the form. Need a place to start? I would recommend any of the five titles listed below. All of these films were made in the last couple of years and all of them are in the library’s collection. Have fun exploring.

“The Queen of Versailles” (2012)

The Queen of Versailles a riches-to rags story about the Siegels, a billionaire family building the largest, most expensive single-family home in the United States. The film follows two unique characters, whose stories reveal the innate virtues and flaws of the American Dream.

“Happy People: A Year in the Taiga” (2010)

This film follows the everyday lives of indigenous people of the Siberian Taiga. Three hundred people inhabit this remote village where daily life and traditions have not changed much in the last few centuries.

“Stories We Tell” (2013)

In this fascinating documentary, director Sarah Polley explores her family history along with how memory can sometimes not match up with reality. Polley acts as an investigator while trying to uncover family secrets by interviewing friends and family.


“Jiro Dreams of Sushi” (2012)

In this artful documentary we meet 85-year-old Jiro Ono, who is often considered to be the world’s most skilled sushi chef. The story follows him and his two sons, as he nears the end of his career. This film is a thoughtful reflection on family, tradition and loving what you do.

“Brooklyn Castle” (2013)

Brooklyn Castle tells the story of I.S. 318, an inner-city junior high school where more than 65 percent of students are from homes with incomes below the federal poverty level and also happens to have one of the most winning chess teams in America. Against all odds, the chess team has transformed this public school, sadly, districtwide budget cuts are threatening all of this team’s hard-earned successes.

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