Rentals

Backed by BFI - Documentaries

Fresh perspectives on familiar themes give a new relevance, as proven by our choice of the best in modern documentaries.

Documentaries can be as lyrical, expressive and experimental as any work of fiction while presenting different ways of seeing. What unites these choices is the themes of place and identity, focusing on the British landscape, its coastline and cities. History also plays a role thanks the expert use of archive footage from Penny Woolcock and Julien Temple.

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I Am (Not) a MonsterI Am (Not) a Monster

Documentary201998 mins

In this thought-provoking and playful documentary, ebullient director Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian (Disaster Playground) takes you on a journey to find the origins of knowledge.

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Talking about TreesTalking about Trees

Documentary201994 minsDirector: Suhaib Gasmelbari

Beautifully shot documentary about four members of the 'Sudanese Film Club' who decide to revive an old cinema.

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HoneylandHoneyland

Documentary201986 minsDirector: Ljubomir Stefanov

When a nomadic family move in and break Honeyland’s basic rule, the last female wild beekeeper in Europe must save the bees and restore natural balance.

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Diego MaradonaDiego Maradona

Documentary2019124 minsDirector: Asif Kapadia

The supreme football superstar is the latest subject for acclaimed filmmaker Asif Kapadia (Amy, Senna), as he deftly explores the complicated dynamic between Diego the man and Maradona the icon.

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Mystify: Michael HutchenceMystify: Michael Hutchence

Documentary2019102 minsDirector: Richard Lowenstein

Capturing his rise to super-stardom and subsequent tragic fall, Mystify gives remarkable insight into INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence and a truth he took to the grave.

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Apollo 11Apollo 11

Documentary201993 minsDirector: Todd Douglas Miller

Astonishing documentary about the 1969 lunar mission, crafted from a newly discovered trove of spectacular, pristine 65mm footage.

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Generation RevolutionGeneration Revolution

Documentary201672 minsDirector: Usayd Younis

This urgent, impassioned documentary follows a new generation of Black activists as they fight for social and political change in London and beyond.

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Grace Jones: Bloodlight and BamiGrace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami

Documentary2017115 minsDirector: Sophie Fiennes

Grace Jones is laid bare in this intimate and electrifying insight into the fascinating world of a pop-cultural phenomenon.

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The Hard StopThe Hard Stop

Documentary201586 minsDirector: George Amponsah

The story of Mark Duggan, who was shot and killed in Tottenham in 2011, is brought to the screen in this humane, thought-provoking and topical documentary.

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HockneyHockney

Documentary2014108 minsDirector: Randall Wright

A portrait of the beloved British artist, drawing on his own home-movie footage and with revealing contributions from his friends and colleagues.

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The Lovers & the DespotThe Lovers & the Despot

Documentary201698 minsDirector: Ross Adam

Discover one of cinema’s strangest stories: a film director and his star are kidnapped by Kim Jong-il to make movies in the world’s weirdest state.

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Love Is AllLove Is All

Documentary201474 minsDirector: Kim Longinotto

A hundred years of love and courtship on the silver screen, with music created by celebrated Sheffield singer-songwriter-producer Richard Hawley.

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The Man from Mo'WaxThe Man from Mo'Wax

Documentary2017116 minsDirector: Matthew Jones

The exhilarating, no holds-barred story of Mo'Wax records founder James Lavelle, one of the most enigmatic yet influential figures in British music culture.

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A Man's StoryA Man's Story

Documentary201098 minsDirector: Varon Bonicos

A documentary charting twelve years in the career of Savile Row tailor Ozwald Boateng.

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The Marvellous Mabel Normand: The Leading Lady of Film ComedyThe Marvellous Mabel Normand: The Leading Lady of Film Comedy

Comedy201878 minsDirector: Mabel Normand

Discover early Hollywood's irrepressible comic pioneer, showcased in this delightful package of short films in which she appears alongside fellow greats Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle and Oliver Hardy.

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McQueenMcQueen

Biopic2018111 minsDirector: Ian Bonhôte

In scintillating fashion, this compelling documentary explores the dark dreams that drove the brilliant, lamented designer, Alexander McQueen.

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Notes on BlindnessNotes on Blindness

Documentary201587 minsDirector: James Spinney

James Spinney and Peter Middleton's highly original documentary uses cinematic interpretations and textured sound design to express a ‘world beyond sight.’

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Self MadeSelf Made

Documentary201084 minsDirector: Gillian Wearing

Artist Gillian Wearing’s ‘documentary’ observes seven people creating (fantasy?) identities in collaboration with a drama teacher. Raw and revealing.

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Project Wild ThingProject Wild Thing

Documentary201380 minsDirector: David Bond

Crowning himself as Marketing Director for Nature, a father aims to entice his kids away from TV, toys and technology.

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Of Fathers and SonsOf Fathers and Sons

Documentary201799 minsDirector: Talal Derki

Syrian-born filmmaker Talal Derki travels to his homeland where he gains the trust of a radical Islamist family, sharing their daily life for over two years. 2019 Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Feature.

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RBGRBG

Documentary201899 minsDirector: Julie Cohen

Revelatory documentary on an unexpected hero - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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I Am Not Your NegroI Am Not Your Negro

Documentary201694 minsDirector: Raoul Peck

Raoul Peck’s penetrating and acclaimed documentary reconstructs an unfinished manuscript by James Baldwin, chronicler of America’s Civil Rights Movement.

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The Spirit of '45The Spirit of '45

Documentary201295 minsDirector: Ken Loach

Ken Loach's stirring polemical history explores the immense forces that built Britain's Welfare State from the rubble of the Second World War.

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Robinson in RuinsRobinson in Ruins

Documentary2010101 minsDirector: Patrick Keiller

The head of a research organisation arranges Robinson’s abandoned research on the English landscape to uncover the origins of capitalist catastrophe.

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The Amazing Johnathan DocumentaryThe Amazing Johnathan Documentary

Documentary201991 minsDirector: Benjamin Berman

A fascinating documentary about the famed comic-magician John Edward Szeles as he makes a surprising comeback.

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Stockholm My LoveStockholm My Love

Drama201684 minsDirector: Mark Cousins

Neneh Cherry, director Mark Cousins and cinematographer Christopher Doyle's exquisite love song to the Swedish city.

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What Is This Film Called Love?What Is This Film Called Love?

Documentary201281 minsDirector: Mark Cousins

Mark Cousins’ cine-essay, inspired by Sergei Eisenstein’s 1930s Mexican odyssey, is a poetic meditation on memory, landscape and walking.

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The Big MeltThe Big Melt

Documentary201371 minsDirector: Martin Wallace

Jarvis Cocker and acclaimed director Martin Wallace's feature-length elegy to the men and women who toiled in Sheffield's steelworks is a hymn to Britain's proud industrial past.

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XY ChelseaXY Chelsea

Documentary201894 minsDirector: Tim Travers Hawkins

Telling the historic story of whistleblower Chelsea Manning; the journey of her fight for survival and dignity, and her transition from prisoner to a free woman.

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Coming OutComing Out

Documentary201864 minsDirector: Denis Parrot

A groundbreaking documentary about saying those few little words that have the power to change your life.

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The Confession: Living the War on TerrorThe Confession: Living the War on Terror

Documentary201696 minsDirector: Ashish Ghadiali

A detailed, wide-ranging interview with Moazzam Begg, a British citizen formerly detained at Guantanamo Bay under suspicion of terrorism offenses.

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Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic SoundMaking Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound

Documentary201995 minsDirector: Midge Costin

Faders on stun: Hollywood sound editor Midge Costin’s immersive, educational and hugely enjoyable documentary exploring the power of sound in cinema.

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Memory: The Origins of AlienMemory: The Origins of Alien

Documentary201993 minsDirector: Alexandre O. Philippe

The untold origin story behind Ridley Scott’s Alien, one of Hollywood’s most beloved and iconic shockers.

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Deep WaterDeep Water

Documentary200689 minsDirector: Louise Osmond

Riveting account of the disastrous attempt by novice sailor Donald Crowhurst to compete in a round-the-world, solo yachting race.

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MaidenMaiden

Documentary201894 minsDirector: Alex Holmes

The incredible, against-all-odds story of sailor Tracy Edwards, who skippered the first all-female international crew in the 1989 Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race.

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An Accidental StudioAn Accidental Studio

Documentary201993 minsDirector: Ben Timlett

Charting the rise of one of Britain's most distinctive film companies, HandMade Films, producer of classics such as Life of Brian, The Long Good Friday and Withnail and I.

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Jonathan Agassi Saved My LifeJonathan Agassi Saved My Life

Documentary2018106 minsDirector: Tomer Heymann

The private life of a renowned gay porn legend is laid bare in this intimate and insightful documentary.

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Dark HorseDark Horse

Documentary201486 minsDirector: Louise Osmond

The inspirational, larger-than-life true story of how a group of friends in a poor mining village took on the elite 'sport of kings' and breed themselves a racehorse.

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QT8: The First EightQT8: The First Eight

Documentary2019101 minsDirector: Tara Wood

There will always be blood, brilliance and controversy: the legendary story of Hollywood 's modern genius, Quentin Tarantino.

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The Epic of EverestThe Epic of Everest

Non-Fiction192487 minsDirector: J.B.L. Noel

Premiere. A breathtaking and poignant account of the valiant 1924 British assault on the awe-inspiring peak, beautifully restored by the BFI.

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Sea SorrowSea Sorrow

Documentary201773 minsDirector: Vanessa Redgrave

Vanessa Redgrave makes her directorial debut with this impassioned documentary about the ongoing refugee crisis.

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Fahrenheit 11/9Fahrenheit 11/9

Documentary2018128 minsDirector: Michael Moore

Michael Moore paints a fiery portrait of life in Trump’s America. Populist, provocative and piercingly captivating, this is Moore’s clarion call to action.

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The KingmakerThe Kingmaker

Documentary2019101 minsDirector: Lauren Greenfield

The matriarch of the Marcos dynasty hopes to see her maternal delusions validated and political power restored, while Philippine activists fight for transparency and democracy, in this captivating study by Lauren Greenfield (The Queen of Versailles).

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Ryuichi Sakamoto: CodaRyuichi Sakamoto: Coda

Documentary2017101 minsDirector: Stephen Schible

A graceful, intimate study of a the legendary Japanese musician, composer, actor, writer and activist.