7 Documentaries to watch in 2022

Jamie Flook 1 March 2022

We’ve dug deep to find seven of the most exciting documentary films coming to a screen near you in 2022

Documentary films have the capacity to inspire, entertain or even change people and the world around them.

While many film genres are being overlooked by the industry in favour of superheroes and sequels, the market for documentaries is probably more vibrant now than it’s ever been before.

They typically cost less to make than other films, which means more filmmakers from around the world can try their hand at them.

The Sanctity of Space

The Sanctity of Space is a visual feast for the eyes that promises to take us into the heart of the snow-topped mountains of Alaska.

Inspired by a legendary 20th-century mountain photographer named Brad Washburn, directors Renan Ozturk and Freddie Wilkinson come up with a plan to make a sideways trek through a treacherous mountain range in his honour.

You’ll have to watch to find out how you move sideways through a mountain range instead of upwards and it’s released by Dogwoof in UK cinemas from March 4.

Last Exit: Space

Is there anything more fascinating than a night sky chock-a-block with stars, planets and everything in between?

In Last Exit: Space, Werner Herzog explores the human potential for colonising space and sending people where they’ve never been before.

Since planet Earth is possibly going to hell in a handcart, the film promises to ask the question: where else might we call home? Directed by his son Rudolph, Last Exit: Space will be available from March 10 on Discovery+.

Gorbachev.Heaven

As leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev was once one of the most powerful people on the planet who governed a landmass so big that it covered 11 time zones.

Gorbachev’s legacy is a complex one—he oversaw the end of the Cold War but many Russians blame him for the Soviet Union’s collapse.

In this film directed by Vitaly Mansky, Gorbachev reflects on his impact on the world and his life now. The BBC’s Storyville brand have announced that they have acquired the rights to this potentially fascinating look at one of modern history’s most pivotal figures from inside his own home.

Even the blurb from the BBC is compelling: “Today his own people condemn him—a lonely old man living the last days of his life in an empty mansion in the suburbs of Moscow.” The BBC say it will be airing in the very near future.

Elizabeth: A Portrait In Parts

In June the Queen celebrates her platinum Jubilee to mark her 70th year as monarch. In this his final film, Roger Michell pieces together archive footage from hundreds of sources to show the Queen from a more human perspective.

The trailer shows the Queen yelping in pain as Princess Eugenie steps on her foot and Paul McCartney even pops up for an interview. Sadly Michell died just as the film was being completed and his final gift to the world will be available in cinemas and on Amazon Prime from June 3.

We Met In Virtual Reality

This film from director Joe Hunting treads fresh ground in that it is filmed entirely in virtual reality.

Less about the technology itself, it is more an exploration of human connections and how these can develop in the metaverse. Early reviews have been positive and following it’s showing at Sundance, it is currently doing the rounds on the festival circuit. Expect a streaming release later in the year.

2nd Chance

Hold your popcorn tightly when watching this. If the trailer is anything to go by, there are going to be lots of near-death moments. 2nd Chance from Oscar-nominated director Ramin Bahrani tells the story of Richard Davis, the wild eccentric inventor of the modern bullet-proof vest.

Davis promoted his vests by shooting himself hundreds of times and became something of a hero to some but that is apparently not where the story ends. All will be revealed as soon as a release date is confirmed.

All That Breathes

Shaunak Sen’s film about two brothers who have spent years saving injured black kites (birds of prey) and treating them with gentle concern are said to lie in stark contrast to the dangerous and polluted streets where they live in New Delhi.

It will be interesting to see how nature and the city interact in a place where both people and wildlife are often living on the edge.

The film won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and early reviews have been very good. At the time of writing it currently holds a 100 per cent “fresh” rating with the critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

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