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.
The 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.
The 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.
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.
Even When I Fall
Documentary201789 minsDirector: Sky Neal
The inspiring and fascinating story of two child-trafficking survivors who form Nepal’s first and only circus; an ode to survival and the healing power of performance.
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.
The 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.
Grace 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.
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.
The 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.
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.
The 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.
Love 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.
The 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.
Notes 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.’
Project 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.
Robinson 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.
Documentary201084 minsDirector: Gillian Wearing
Artist Gillian Wearing’s ‘documentary’ observes seven people creating (fantasy?) identities in collaboration with a drama teacher. Raw and revealing.
The 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.
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.
Stockholm My Love
Drama201684 minsDirector: Mark Cousins
Neneh Cherry, director Mark Cousins and cinematographer Christopher Doyle's exquisite love song to the Swedish city.
Who's Gonna Love Me Now?
Documentary201686 minsDirector: Tomer Heymann
A heartfelt exploration of one man’s struggle to reconcile with his Israeli family, while finding a new ‘family’ in London Gay Men’s Chorus.