Documentaries have long been a powerful tool when it comes to storytelling, particularly when they are able to shine a light on historical moments that have previously gone unexamined.
From documentary offerings that chronicle to the representation of Black people in Hollywood to films that include previously unseen footage of police brutality, here are five powerful documentaries about racial injustice you need to watch this weekend.
13th is a documentary from filmmaker Ava DuVernay and is a brilliant investigation into how the Thirteenth Amendment led to mass incarceration in the United States.
The documentary, which features a number of activists, academics and political figures, including Angela Davis, Bryan Stevenson, Van Jones and Newt Gingrich, traces the history of racial inequality in the United States. 13th focuses on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans and educates viewers on why the system continues to work this way.
13th was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards.
Watch it on Netflix.
The Australian Dream
This documentary explores race and identity in Australia, focusing on the story of Indigenous AFL player Adam Goodes.
The Australian Dream takes viewers through the racial abuse Adam suffered while playing and the public backlash against him that occurred after he spoke out about racism in Australia.
Using archival footage as well as interviews with a range of Australians including Eddie McGuire, Natalie Goodes, Nova Peris and Andrew Bolt, the feature-length documentary shines a light on how the idea of the “Australian Dream” is really rooted in racism.
The Australian Dream won the AACTA Award for Best Feature Documentary in 2019 and is important viewing for all Australians.
Watch it on iView.
To hear about Hollywood’s reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement, listen to The Spill.
I Am Not Your Negro
This documentary, which is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, is inspired by Black author and activist James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House.
I Am Not Your Negro is based on the collection of notes and letters written by Baldwin in the mid-1970s that recount the lives of his close friends and civil rights leaders Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers.
The critically acclaimed documentary connects the civil rights movement to the Black Lives Matter movement and questions the representation of Black people in Hollywood, in society and in the arts.