Documentaries That Make A Difference | Darling Magazine

It’s hard to find a better way to unwind than by relaxing and watching a great film. Movies take us to new places and allow us to experience new things, all while letting us remain in the comfort of our homes. They allow us to get outside of ourselves and learn about the rest of the world, right from our living rooms. Documentaries have the same effect—they challenge us to reassess our values and they motivate us to take action on behalf of what inspires us. Humanitarian documentaries, in particular, force us to confront harsh realities about the world we live in, and they inspire us to make a difference in the lives of others.

Here are a few humanitarian documentaries that we think are worth watching. Grab some popcorn and a refreshing beverage, and get ready to take in these compelling flicks:

Waste Land
Artist Vik Muniz sought to use his photographic skills to document life in Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest garbage dump, located just outside of Rio de Janeiro. Though this landfill was finally closed in June (after 34 years of operation), it served (and some speculate that it still serves) as a hub for “pickers” to sort through the garbage as a means of survival. When Muniz arrived in this Brazilian city to document this phenomenon, his vision was to photograph the pickers and make them the focal point of one of his paintings. But as he got to know the amazing stories of the pickers, he couldn’t help but get involved in their lives on a deeper level. This documentary highlights the union between the therapeutic powers of art and the quirky charm of the human race.

God Grew Tired of Us
This riveting documentary follows the lives of three “Lost Boys” of Sudan who leave their country as refugees to pursue their dreams of living better lives in the United States. Orphaned by the horrific civil war in Sudan, the three young men leave all that they have ever known in hopes of finding work, safety, and purpose in a new country. The film documents the culture shock each young man experiences upon entering the U.S., highlighting the lack of preparation they had before leaving their homeland. In the midst of their struggles, they never cease to remain committed to their loved ones back in Sudan, promising to use the money they earn to help them so that one day, they, too, may be able to live better lives. But are these three young men truly living better lives? The film explores this underlying theme, calling into question what actually makes a life better—the promise of financial and physical security, or living in proximity to those you love.

War Dance
This powerful documentary showcases a dance troupe in northern Uganda comprised of children who were abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army and forced to either become sex slaves or child soldiers. After many years of living in fear, the children finally found safety in local schools and refugee camps. Despite the atrocities they had already confronted at such a young age, they seized every opportunity they had to sing and dance. It is difficult to reconcile the chilling personal accounts each child had of murder, rape, abuse, and war with the joy, grace, and happiness they demonstrate when they gathered together in their dance troupe. Viewers will be riveted by the juxtaposition of the children’s tragic testimonies with their beautiful, passionate dance performances.

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