Laura Poitras' Top 10

    • set 10 items

    Long prolific in the spheres of documentary and journalism, Poitras’ fearless filmmaking has changed the world as we know it. Her unflinching examination of oppression, representation, and resistance, well-known from her own body of work, finds new affinity in her Top 10 program, in which Poitras curates ten films key to the human condition.

    Films in the Top 10 program

    The 3 Rooms of Melancholia

    • pirjo Honkasalo
    • 2004

      Shot in St. Petersburg, Grozny and Ingushetia, this multilayered, poetic film in three chapters reflects a range of fundamental human feelings and mental states that war invokes.

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      • Steve McQueen
      • 2008

        Steve McQueen’s intensely physical, multi-award-winning feature debut. On 1 March 1981, IRA member Bobby Sands—a prisoner in a Northern Irish jail during the Troubles—went on a hunger strike to protest his brutal treatment. He died 66 days later.

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        La jetée

        • Chris Marker
        • 1962

          A short post-apocalyptic film considered by many to be the masterpiece of film essayist Chris Marker. A series of still, black-and-white images tell the story of a time traveler who has been sent from the post-World War III future to save the present.

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          Project Crossroads

          • U.S. Department of Energy
          • 1949

            The official record of the first pair of nuclear tests at the Bikini atoll in July 1946, conducted by the US Navy in order to establish the forces that military equipment and troops would be exposed to at the dawn of a new era of nuclear warfare.

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            Shireen Abu Akleh: The Extrajudicial Killing of a Journalist

            • Al-Haq, Al-Haq's Forensic Architecture Investigation Unit
            • 2022

              Based on publicly accessible data, testimonials and video footage, in this short film, the research group Forensic Architecture reconstructs the death of the Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

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              • Claude Lanzmann
              • 1985

                This 9½-hour film is a milestone in the history of Holocaust documentaries. Testimonies from survivors, perpetrators, collaborators and bystanders provide detailed descriptions of the perverse machinery dedicated to the extermination of Jewish people.

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                This Is Not a Film

                • Jafar Panahi, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb
                • 2011

                  Jafar Panahi, who was put under house arrest and banned from making films in 2011, is currently imprisoned by the Iranian government. In spite of these restrictions, he's made a defiant ode to both the art and the freedom that were taken from him.

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                  Titicut Follies

                  • Frederick Wiseman
                  • 1967

                    Wiseman documentary debut is a shocking depiction of the treatment of convicted criminals in a psychiatric hospital. There is no attempt to make people better—instead, it’s all about power.

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                    Torture in Saydnaya Prison

                    • Forensic Architecture
                    • 2018

                      Based on witness statements, the Forensic Architecture research group reconstructs the interior of the infamous Saydnaya prison in Syria, where countless men have been tortured and executed since the start of the civil war.

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                      Return to Homs

                      • Talal Derki
                      • 2013

                        A remarkably intimate portrait of a group of young friends in Homs, Syria, dreaming of a peaceful revolution that will free the country of Assad’s dictatorial regime. When the national army starts destroying their city, the boys turn into armed rebels.

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