Importance of documentary films

I wonder how many viewers watch documentaries. Recently, we’ve rented two documentary films that were up for Academy awards in 2012—“Environmental Liberation Front” and “Paradise Lost 3—Purgatory.” Both movies were involving, upsetting, and thought-provoking. Neither got the 2012 award, although “Purgatory” was supposed to be the shoe-in.
It was for us the more sympathetic film of the two. The film focuses on the brutal murders of 3 eight-year-old children in Arkansas and the wrongful conviction of three teenage men for the crimes. Later investigation and DNA testing proved their innocence, but appeals of their convictions were denied. Eventually after 18 years, they were freed, although they had to plead guilty.
The film brings up so many topics for discussion, justice, truth, forgiveness, revenge, anger, faith, open-mindedness, reason. In church today we read the story of the Prodigal Son, which brought up many of the same issues, although the son’s sins were hardly as grave as murder.
Still the power of self-interest, of rigid adherence to our biews, to a desire for punishment, for consistency, for covering up mistakes all seem fundamental to both stories. I am inspired by the Prodigal Son’s father, as well as by the Dixie Chicks, and all who worked to exonerate the three men from Arkansas. And howfortunate we are to have documentary filmmakers. Therir work is invaluable.


About Sally Hobart Alexander

Blinded at the age of twenty-six, I left California and elementary school teaching for life in Pittsburgh, Pa. There, I met my husband, got a Masters' degree in social work, had two kids, now 35 and 32, and became a writer. Surprisingly, the writing career led me full-circle to teaching, and I teach in Chatham University's M.F.A. program and lead two writing critique groups. Always, since the age of 26, I have traveled, not in the stereotypic darkness attributed to blindness, but a mist. My blog then, "traveling through the mist" will deal with issues in my culturally different life as a blind writer, teacher, speaker, and human being.
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