Mar 23, 2020

One of the easiest ways to pass time while learning something new is by watching documentaries. These films offer new insights on relevant topics while sparking conversations and movements on issues that matter. 

Now that we’ve talked about thought-provoking and socially aware documentaries, let’s focus on documentaries on the arts and history. The best thing about all of these is that you can access them for free.

Gary Hustwit’s Design Trilogy

Released from 2007 to 2011, Gary Hustwit’s Design Trilogy of documentaries examine the impact of European and American trends in typography, architecture and graphic design. The first part of the trilogy, “Helvetica,” is currently available for streaming on Oh You Pretty Things—with the rest of the trilogy to be uploaded over the following weeks.


How Buildings Learn 

Based on an illustrated book by Steward Brand, “How Buildings Learn” is a six-part documentary that focuses on the evolution of architecture and how buildings are made to adapt to different environments and needs over a long period of time. 


10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki

Directed by Kaku Arakawa, “10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki” is a four-part documentary on the years leading up to the filmmaker’s retirement in 2013. The film focuses on Miyazaki’s creative process, set during the production of his last two films for Studio Ghibli: “Ponyo” and “The Wind Rises.”


Lost Kubrick: The Unfinished Films of Stanley Kubrick

Narrated by actor Malcolm McDowell, this documentary pieces together interviews and archival materials to explore films that Kubrick had developed but ultimately didn’t finish. “Lost Kubrick: The Unfinished Films of Stanley Kubrick” examines how Kubrick was drawn to his abandoned projects and why they were left unfinished.


National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP)’s documentaries

In response to the temporary closure of museums in the country, the NHCP recently uploaded their collection of historical documentaries for streaming on YouTube. These documentaries focus on important figures in our country’s history like Jose Rizal, Apolinario Mabini, Gregoria de Jesus and the women of the revolution.


Haruki Murakami: In Search of this Elusive Writer

“Haruki Murakami: In Search of this Elusive Writer” features television presenter Alan Yentob traveling through Japan in order to learn more about Haruki Murakami. The hour-long documentary features interviews with Murakami’s translators, and the settings of some of his novels like Tokyo and Hokkaido.


Header photo by Pim Chu on Unsplash

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Read more:

6 films to stream on Netflix to widen your social awareness

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TAGS: documentaries Gary Hustwit Haruki Murakami hayao miyazaki National Historical Commission of the Philippines NHCP nolisoli Stanley Kubrick Stewart Brand