Best films and television of 2019 and the decade

Remarkably, one-fifth of the new century is already behind us.

We asked a number of writers for the WSWS, Richard Phillips, Fred Mazelis, Clara Weiss, Stefan Steinberg and Verena Nees, for suggestions about the most valuable films from 2019 and the rest of the past decade.

We post various lists below. There may well be glaring omissions, either because we were unable to see a particular movie or program or because we undervalued it, perhaps along with over-estimations in some cases, but among the works mentioned, we trust there are worthy and rewarding ones. We urge readers to offer their own recommendations.

Stefan Konarske and August Diehl in The Young Karl Marx (2017) [Photo: Kris Dewitte, Neue Visionen Filmverleih]

A number of objective processes are at work in the film and television industry, particular reflections of broader tendencies in social and cultural life. On the one hand, there is a staggering accumulation of wealth at the top. Those in charge of visual production have the most remarkable technologies at their disposal and the capacity to create virtually any image. However, film and television studio executives and producers demonstrate a terrible paucity of imagination and originality, in part the result of relentless shareholder pressure encouraging the blandest and least offensive products, in part an expression of the demoralized absence of any great interest in contemporary life or confidence in the future of their social system.

Worse still, in some cases, the “philosophy” of the stock market swindler, dismissive of any long-term concerns in the interests of the feverish accumulation of personal wealth, finds a reflection today in the selfish, chilly outlook of certain industry types. More than a century ago, on the subject of artistic life in pre-World War I Vienna, Leon Trotsky described this “moralising turned on its head” as “a never-ending and boring sermon: do not fear, do not harbour any doubt, do not feel ashamed, do not have any scruples, grab what you can.”

In the US, the concentration of control over the media (including broadcast and cable television, film, radio, newspaper, magazine, book publishing, music, video games and online operations) by a handful of conglomerates has reached an advanced stage. In 1983, 50 companies controlled 90 percent of the media. By 2012, six companies owned 90 percent, and by 2019, that number had fallen to four: Comcast (through NBCUniversal), Disney, ViacomCBS (controlled by National Amusements) and AT&T (through WarnerMedia).

Disney, which purchased 21st Century Fox earlier this year for $71.3 billion, increased its revenue in 2019 to an estimated nearly $70 billion. The giant firm was responsible for eight of the top 10 highest-grossing films of 2019. Its movies, none of which has any enduring value, earned $10 billion in global revenue this year.

Such levels of financial success inevitably breed fawning and sycophancy in the miserable American media. Time magazine recently named Robert Iger, Disney’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, its “Businessperson of the Year.” Forbes magazine estimates Iger’s wealth to be $690 million. His annual salary is $65.5 million, 1,424 times what the median Disney worker earns, a ratio that Disney heir Abigail Disney has termed “insane.”

Time’s gushing article touched on Disney’s streaming service, Disney+ (pronounced Disney Plus), which signed up 10 million people on the first day of its launch in mid-November, before noting that the service was “not yet a threat to the big tech companies that dominate the stream: Netflix has 158.3 million subscribers, Amazon Prime has 101 million, and Google’s YouTube has about 2 billion users a month.”

Again, the possibilities are enormous, but the contradictions are equally stark. A commentator at MediaU recently wrote that Amazon and Netflix, which a few years ago seemed to be the saviors of independent filmmaking, “have retrenched; they have announced that they are looking for less independent and ‘more commercial’ fare. And while Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, and Facebook will spend more than $16 billion on content this year, in aggregate, only a tiny fraction” will go to independent films. “The big platforms are looking for marquee series and big names that will attract viewers, and they are spending for it—Facebook is spending up to $2 million per episode, with Amazon and Netflix spending up to $10 million per episode, for series.”

As far as the American corporate elite is concerned, the production of a handful of empty, bombastic “blockbusters,” exported to every corner of the planet, is the ideal business model.

However, this is not by any means the whole picture. A growing number of writers and directors are looking critically and angrily, and at times with considerable acuity, at contemporary society. The financial collapse in 2008 and the subsequent impoverishment of millions, the vast social inequality, the global rise of neo-fascistic parties, the endless wars and the systematic assault on democratic rights have had an inescapable influence on artistic circles. Efforts at censorship and repression, including the infamous imprisoning of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, in the name of “national security,” religious fundamentalism or other reactionary pretexts, have also incensed and disturbed many.

The emergence of broad popular opposition to the existing social and political order, initially reflected in the eruption of strikes and mass protests in dozens of countries this year, must contribute to breaking up the cultural stagnation.

The difficulties and obstacles confronting the sensitive and thoughtful artist in our day should not be underestimated or regarded unsympathetically. Trotsky’s proposition in 1938, on the eve of World War II and amid the horrors of fascist barbarism, that art, “the most complex part of culture, the most sensitive and at the same time the least protected, suffers most from the decline and decay of bourgeois society,” holds truer today than ever.

In the US, Britain and increasingly elsewhere, the artist is thrown on the mercy of the “free market,” as state support for the arts is slashed or eliminated. Corporations and governments alike—directly and indirectly—demand films and television programs that suit their brutal purposes, defense of profit, war and the “national interest.”

Filmmaking is an expensive, labor-intensive and socially cooperative undertaking. It requires the mobilization of considerable artistic-technical resources. Raising funds for and seeing through to the end the production of a truly “independent” or oppositional film is an exhausting process at present. Many barriers, deliberately placed or otherwise, stand between the filmmaker and his or her intended audience.

The accumulated intellectual atmosphere in “cultivated” settings, bohemian or academic, is not a healthy one either. Every artist there is expected, before anything else, to pay tribute to racial or sexual identity as the life-and-death question in contemporary existence. Disgrace and exclusion are the price for opposition to this rotten program.

When South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho (Parasite) argued that “all artists … are always interested in class, 24/7, I think it would actually be strange if we’re not” and that “we all have very sensitive antennae to class, in general,” he was expressing, sadly, a distinctly minority view.

Every work of art, even the most banal, reflects the time and society in which it was created. What else could it reflect? The decisive issue is whether it does this in a rich, challenging and critical manner. That is the artist’s central responsibility, even though, as Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy pointed out, “It is very difficult to tell the truth.”

In recent decades, the artists, due to unfavorable intellectual and political conditions, have been largely content to passively and uncritically reflect the immediate conditions in which they found themselves, not seriously probe or dispute them. Worse still, all too often, as in the movies of Quentin Tarantino, Lars von Trier, the French “cinema of the body,” Japanese horror and gangster films, etc., they have wallowed in the confusion and disorientation prevailing in many petty-bourgeois quarters.

Without minimizing the immense problems, the past decade unquestionably witnessed more interesting work in the movies than the previous one. The threatening or unjust state of contemporary society obliged a number of filmmakers, first of all, to look more searchingly at history. Our lists below include, for example, Mike Leigh’s Peterloo (2018), Bernd Böhlich’s Sealed Lips (2018), Raoul Peck’s The Young Karl Marx (2017), Gary Ross’ Free State of Jones (2016), Antonio Chavarrías’ The Chosen (2016), Lars Kraume’s The People vs. Fritz Bauer (2015), Giulio Ricciarelli’s Labyrinth of Lies (2014) and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (2012).

In the US, we have been unable so far to see one of the most important historical films of the past decade, Roman Polanski’s version of the Dreyfus affair, J’accuse ( An Officer and a Spy, 2019). The anti-democratic, repressive #MeToo crusaders have intimidated prospective distributors and prevented the film’s being shown in North America.

When Polanski’s film was screened for select film buyers at the Cannes film festival last May, according to the Hollywood Reporter, “domestic buyers largely gave the film the cold shoulder. One executive at a prestige distributor in the U.S. skipped the presentation. ‘No interest,’ the buyer said. Another U.S. buyer also ignored the invite. ‘It’s just not possible to release that film in the U.S. right now,’ the executive explained.”

The Playlist website openly refers to the fact that Polanski and Woody Allen (the release of whose film A Rainy Day in New York was halted by Amazon Studios, its producer), whom it describes as “critically-acclaimed and legends in the industry,” spent “the last year blacklisted from Hollywood, as their sexual misconduct allegations from decades previous have resurfaced in light of the #MeToo movement.” This new blacklisting, if anything, arouses less protest in the conformist and cowardly media and film industry establishment than the McCarthyite purges of the 1950s.

These extraordinary acts of censorship (to which one could add the excising of actor Kevin Spacey from Ridley Scott’s completed movie All the Money in the World and the suppression of Louis C.K.’s film I Love You, Daddy) raise questions as to the significant obstacle that upper-middle class identity politics represents to artistic representation.

Fascistic attacks on art and artists are not an innovation, but the stock market, real estate and media boom of the past several decades, combined with the malignant impact of postmodern and identity-centered ideologies, has created within erstwhile “cosmopolitan” and “sophisticated” liberal and left layers a new constituency for censorship, authoritarianism and, more generally, imperialist politics. Self-aggrandizing and self-pitying, indifferent to historical truth and facts (as the New York Times’ “1619 Project” has graphically demonstrated), virulently hostile to egalitarianism and the demands of the working class, this “New Right” element regards art that goes below the social or historical surface, and raises “unsettling” questions about the whole set-up, with unmistakable and implacable hostility.

As long ago as 1994, in a review of Jane Campion’s The Piano (in the International Workers Bulletin), we asserted that movements dedicated to gender and racial politics had not “helped anyone to see the world and its most fundamental social relationships more clearly; they have had precisely the opposite, narrowing effect. They have objectively damaged artistic and intellectual work.”

Inevitably, in the face of ever more open class conflict, identity politics in art and society has moved from a generally defensive posture to an aggressive one. The attacks on Polanski, Allen, Spacey, C.K. and others represents a stepping up of the campaign against democratic rights and artistic freedom.

Of the films we admired most over the past 10 years, a number were ignored in large measure (The Young Karl Marx, Peterloo, etc.), while others, especially those that challenged racialism, the viewpoint now officially upheld by the pseudo-left and the Democratic Party, were assailed, sometimes ferociously. It is not possible to tell the story of American filmmaking in the 2010s in particular without some reference to these controversies.

We should recall that Spielberg’s Lincoln, which contains powerful sequences shedding light on some of the most tense and turbulent moments in American history, was unfavorably compared by a number of critics, especially the “liberal-minded” and “left” ones, with Tarantino’s Django Unchained (2012) in particular, as well as with Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty (2012).

According to Django Unchained ’s “misanthropic, racialist view of the world,” we noted in February 2013, “slavery was demolished or should have been demolished through acts of bloody individual vengeance. The film does not let the fact that the institution was not demolished in this manner stand in its way.”

Little need be added at this point about Bigelow’s deplorable Zero Dark Thirty, which was not only a dull, murky and psychologically unconvincing journey to the “dark side” and a defense of CIA torture, but, as investigative journalist Seymour Hersh revealed in 2015, “based” on events surrounding the death of Osama bin Laden that never took place.

Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post was one of those who claimed that Django Unchained came closer to the truth about slavery than Spielberg’s Lincoln did. Hornaday wrote that “even at its most lurid, preposterous and ahistorical, ‘Django Unchained’ communicates truths that more solemn, self-serious treatises [i.e., Lincoln] might miss.” Former New York Times drama critic and columnist Frank Rich, writing in New York magazine, asserted that Django Unchained’s “reverie on the Civil War era, a crazy amalgam of the nightmarish and the comically surreal, dredges up the racial conflicts left unresolved by both Lincoln and Lincoln.”

In the Nation, Jon Wiener contrasted Lincoln and Django Unchained, and came down on the side of Tarantino’s effort, writing, for example: “In Spielberg’s film, old white men make history, and black people thank them for giving them their freedom.”

Meanwhile, filmmaker and liberal icon Michael Moore rushed to the defense of Zero Dark Thirty, arguing offensively and ludicrously that Bigelow’s film with its central character, a female CIA operative, represented a triumph for feminism. The work, Moore wrote, “is really about how an agency of mostly men are dismissive of a woman who is on the right path to finding bin Laden. Yes, guys, this is a movie about how we don’t listen to women.”

Another work that aroused the ire of the identity politics industry was the highly valuable and moving Free State of Jones, significantly inspired by research carried out by historian Victoria Bynum of Texas State University, one of the professors who has expressed serious criticism of the Times’ 1619 Project. Gary Ross’ film chronicles the struggles of a white farmer in Mississippi, Newton Knight, to organize an insurrection against the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Charles Blow of the Times launched one of the most venomous assaults, “White Savior, Rape and Romance?,” in June 2016 (to which column Bynum replied). Blow wrote that Ross’s film tried “desperately to cast the Civil War, and specifically dissent within the Confederacy, as more a populism-versus-elitism class struggle in which poor white men were forced to fight a rich white man’s war and protect the cotton trade, rather than equally a conflict about the moral abhorrence of black slavery. Throughout, there is the white liberal insistence that race is merely a subordinate construction of class.”

Vann Newkirk II authored an equally repugnant piece, “The Faux-Enlightened Free State of Jones,” in the Atlantic, while one of the most telling commentaries came from Erin Whitney at ScreenCrush who lamented that Free State of Jones “tells its story with ignorance and colorblindness.” Whitney went on to complain: “This is not a Civil War movie about race; it’s one about class disputes and sympathizes with white people.”

Peter Farrelly’s Green Book came under sustained attack by race-obsessed circles even before its release in November 2018 through its receiving the Academy Award for Best Picture in February 2019. In the film, acclaimed black pianist Don Shirley employs a working class Italian-American, Tony Vallelonga, as his driver and bodyguard in a musical tour through the South. Shirley sees the tour as part of the struggle against segregation.

For its elemental, humane view that racial prejudice is a social problem solvable through education and example, reason and empathy, and that racial hatred is not an essential component of the human condition, Green Book earned the instinctive and unrelenting enmity of critics and media commentators mesmerized by race.

Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times declared the film to be “insultingly glib and hucksterish, a self-satisfied crock masquerading as an olive branch.” Remarkably, the critic denounced the film for peddling “a shopworn ideal of racial reconciliation.” Brooks Barnes in the New York Times termed the film “woefully retrograde and borderline bigoted.” Instead, Barnes extolled the virtues of Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018) a superhero movie glorifying a fictional African ethno-state called Wakanda.

One of the fouler pieces, by Wesley Morris, appeared in the New York Times prior to the Academy Awards. Its theme was summed up in its headline, “Why Do the Oscars Keep Falling for Racial Reconciliation Fantasies?” Indiewire noted that the victory of Green Book at the Academy Awards “was immediately met with outrage from movie journalists and critics on social media.”

The “outrage” of a definite portion of the critics and the media establishment generally extends to those filmmakers who have the audacity to step outside their “comfort zones” and take up social questions. Thus, writer-director Steven Soderbergh was greeted with some of the worst reviews of his career earlier this year when he released The Laundromat, a sharp-eyed film based on revelations about the Panama Papers and treating corporate criminality and money laundering. Various critics, a number of them in the pay of plutocrat Rupert Murdoch, found the exposé of ruling elite malfeasance unpalatable.

“I’ve just watched a 96-minute op-ed,” grumbled Johnny Oleksinski in the New York Post, while Tom Shone in the Sunday Times (UK) commented that The Laundromat “wanders into aimless sketches vaguely concerned with the Panama Papers and rich people behaving badly.” “Overly preachy” (Aaron Peterson in the Hollywood Outsider) and “an indignant lecture” (David Sexton in the London Evening Standard) were additional comments.

The venturing of director Todd Haynes—identified as a pioneer of the New Queer Cinema—into socially critical territory in Dark Waters (2019), focused on DuPont’s toxic chemical contamination in Parkersburg, West Virginia, prompted one irate commentator to headline his review, “What the hell is Todd Haynes doing behind the camera of generic docudrama Dark Waters?,” and to label the remarkable film “a crushing disappointment.”

In the end, the development of the world determines the development of art, even in the unusual circumstances of film and television production. The big movement of the working class coming into increasingly direct and conscious conflict with the various ruling elites around the world remains the critical question. Such developments will show the artists that a force exists capable of leading society out of its present state to a higher form of organization. The best artists, the most honest and sincere, will respond with ground-breaking work. We have every confidence in that.

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1. Films that were shown in movie theaters or on television in the US in 2019 or that WSWS writers saw at film festivals (in no particular order)

Peterloo—Mike Leigh

J’accuse—Roman Polanski

Parasite—Bong Joon Ho

Dark Waters—Todd Haynes

Les Misérables—Ladj Ly

Atlantics—Mati Diop

Ibrahim: A Fate to Define—Lina Al Abed

South Terminal—Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche

Ash Is Purest White—Jia Zhang-ke

The Laundromat—Steven Soderbergh

Official Secrets—Gavin Hood

Velvet Buzzsaw—Dan Gilroy

The Public—Emilio Estevez

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote—Terry Gilliam

Just Mercy—Destin Daniel Cretton

Clergy—Wojciech Smarzowski

So Long, My Son—Wang Xiaoshuai

Sealed Lips—Bernd Böhlich

Gundermann—Andreas Dresen

Mack the Knife—Brecht's Threepenny Film—Joachim Lang

God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya—Teona Strugar Mitevska

63 Up—Michael Apted

The Current War—Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Motherless Brooklyn—Edward Norton

Dogman—Matteo Garrone

Transit—Christian Petzold

Rosie—Paddy Breathnach

Working Woman—Michal Aviad

2. These seem to us the most interesting films and bodies of work produced over the past decade (in parentheses) and the new century as a whole (the 2000s in brackets):

Peterloo, 2018—Mike Leigh (Another Year, 2010, Mr. Turner, 2014) [All or Nothing, 2002, Vera Drake, 2004, Happy-Go-Lucky, 2008]

J’accuse (An Officer and a Spy), 2019—Roman Polanski (The Ghost Writer, 2010) [The Pianist, 2002, Oliver Twist, 2005]

The Young Karl Marx, 2017—Raoul Peck (Moloch Tropical , 2009, Murder in Pacot, 2014) [Lumumba, 2000, Profit & Nothing But! Or Impolite Thoughts on the Class Struggle, 2001]

Ash is Purest White, 2018—Jia Zhang-ke (A Touch of Sin, 2013) [Platform, 2000, The World, 2004]

Parasite, 2019, Bong Joon–ho [Memories of Murder, 2003]

An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, 2013—Danis Tanovic (Cirkus Columbia, 2010, Tigers, 2014)

A Screaming Man, 2010—Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (A Season in France, 2017) [Daratt, 2006]

A Separation, 2012—Asghar Farhadi (The Salesman, 2016)

Phoenix, 2014—Christian Petzold (Barbara, 2012, Transit, 2018)

So Long, My Son, 2019—Wang Xiaoshuai (11 Flowers, 2011) [Beijing Bicycle, 2001, Drifters, 2003, Shanghai Dreams, 2005]

The Traitor, 2019—Marco Bellocchio (Dormant Beauty, 2012) [Vincere, 2009]

Dark Waters, 2019—Todd Haynes (Mildred Pierce, 2011)

Roman J. Israel, Esq., 2017—Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler, 2014, Velvet Buzzsaw, 2019)

Isle of Dogs, 2018—Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel, 2014) [The Royal Tenenbaums, 2001, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, 2004]

Loving, 2016—Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter, 2011)

Lincoln, 2012—Steven Spielberg (The Post, 2017) [Catch Me If You Can, 2002, Munich, 2005]

The Big Short, 2015—Adam McKay (Vice, 2018)

Win Win, 2011—Tom McCarthy (Spotlight, 2015) [The Station Agent, 2003, The Visitor, 2007]

Nebraska, 2013—Alexander Payne [About Schmidt, 2002]

Omar, 2013—Hany Abu-Assad [Rana’ s Wedding, 2002, Paradise Now, 2005]

A World Not Ours, 2012—Mahdi Fleifel (Short films: Xenos, 2014, A Man Returned, 2016, A Drowning Man, 2017)

Timbuktu, 2014—Abderrahmane Sissako [Waiting for Happiness, 2002, Bamako, 2006]

Iraqi Odyssey, 2014—Samir [Forget Baghdad: Jews and Arabs–The Iraqi Connection, 2002]

99 Homes, 2014—Ramin Bahrani [Man Push Cart, 2005, Chop Shop , 2007 ]

Sweet Country, 2017—Warwick Thornton (Samson and Delilah, 2009)

Good Kill, 2014—Andrew Niccol (In Time, 2011)

3. Individual films of remarkable quality that may be lesser known (listed chronologically):

Even the Rain, 2010—Icíar Bollaín

Court, 2014—Chaitanya Tamhane

The People vs. Fritz Bauer, 2015—Lars Kraume

The Colony, 2015—Florian Gallenberger

Sami Blood, 2016—Amanda Kernell

Free State of Jones, 2016—Gary Ross

The Chosen, 2016—Antonio Chavarrías

Capernaum, 2018—Nadine Labaki

4. Individual films of genuine merit, none of them flawless (listed chronologically):

Miral, 2010—Julian Schnabel

The Social Network, 2010—David Fincher

Think of Me (Alternative title: About Sunny), 2011—Bryan Wizemann

Edwin Boyd (Alternative title: Citizen Gangster), 2011—Nathan Morlando

Rebellion, 2011—Mathieu Kassovitz

Omar Killed Me, 2011—Roschdy Zem

Great Expectations, 2012—Mike Newell

Detroit Unleaded, 2012—Rola Nashef

The We and the I, 2012—Michel Gondry

A Late Quartet, 2012—Yaron Zilberman

With You, Without You, 2012—Prasana Vithanage

Closed Circuit, 2013—John Crowley

Standing Aside, Watching, 2013—Yorgos Servetas

Salvation Army, 2013—Abdellah Taïa

Ilo Ilo, 2013—Anthony Chen

Devil’s Knot, 2013—Atom Egoyan

Bad Hair, 2013—Mariana Rondón

Foxcatcher, 2014—Bennett Miller

Boyhood, 2014—Richard Linklater

Labyrinth of Lies, 2014—Giulio Ricciarelli

Look Who’s Back, 2015—David Wnendt

The Boda Boda Thieves, 2015—Donald Mugisha and James Tayler

Koza, 2015—Ivan Ostrochovský

Marija, 2016—Michael Koch

Lady Macbeth, 2016—William Oldroyd

Past Life, 2016—Avi Nesher

The Florida Project, 2017—Sean Baker

War Machine, 2017—David Michôd

Directions, 2017—Stephan Komandarev

Arrhythmia, 2017—Boris Khlebnikov

In Times of Fading Light, 2017—Matti Geschonneck

Crown Heights, 2017—Matt Ruskin

The Workshop, 2017—Laurent Cantet

I Am Not a Witch, 2017—Rungano Nyoni

Mudbound, 2017—Dee Rees

No Date, No Signature, 2017—Vahid Jalilvand

Green Book, 2018—Peter Farrelly

Roma, 2018—Alfonso Cuarón

Sealed Lips, 2018— Bernd Böhlich

Mack the Knife—Brechts Threepenny Film, 2018—Joachim Lang

Screwdriver, 2018—Bassam Jarbawi

Dogman, 2018—Matteo Garrone

God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya, 2019—Teona Strugar Mitevska

Les Misérables, 2019—Ladj Ly

Atlantics, 2019—Mati Diop

The Laundromat, 2019—Steven Soderbergh

Ibrahim: A Fate to Define, 2019—Lina Al Abed

South Terminal, 2019—Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche

5. A few television series:

Charité at War (2019)

Succession (2018)

Homecoming (2018)

The Crown (2016)

Chernobyl (2019)

Orange is the New Black (2013)

Mr. Robot (2015)

6. Non-fiction films:

Tears of Gaza, 2010—Vibeke Lokkeberg

The Tillman Story, 2010—Amir Bar-Lev

Le Quattro Volte, 2010—Michelangelo Frammartino

The Tall Man, 2011—Tony Krawitz

Pina, 2011—Wim Wenders

The Law in These Parts, 2011—Ra’anan Alexandrowicz

The Queen of Versailles, 2012—Lauren Greenfield

Central Park Five, 2012—Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon

Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out, 2012—Marina Zenovich

Sofia’s Last Ambulance, 2012—Ilian Metev

The Gatekeepers, 2012—Dror Moreh

The Act of Killing, 2012—Joshua Oppenheimer

The Kill Team, 2013—Dan Krauss

Finding Vivian Maier, 2013—John Maloof and Charlie Siskel

Rich Hill, 2014—Andrew Droz Palermo, Tracy Droz Tragos

We Come as Friends, 2014—Hubert Sauper

In Jackson Heights, 2015—Frederick Wiseman Janis: Little Girl Blue, 2015—Amy Berg

Don’ t Blink–Robert Frank, 2015—Laura Israel

The Settlers, 2016—Shimon Dotan

I Called Him Morgan, 2016—Kasper Collin

Muhi: Generally Temporary, 2017—Rina Castelnouvo-Hollander, Tamir Elterman

Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart, 2017—Tracy Heather Strain

Central Airport THF, 2018—Karim Aïnouz

They Shall Not Grow Old, 2018—Peter Jackson

Who Will Write Our History?, 2018—Roberta Grossman

Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz, 2018—Barry Avrich

Ghost Fleet, 2018—Shannon Service & Jeffrey Waldron

Hal, 2018—Amy Scott

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, 2019—Stanley Nelson

Midnight Traveler, 2019—Hassan Fazili

Where’s My Roy Cohn?, 2019—Matt Tyrnauer

Midnight Family, 2019—Luke Lorentzen