10 Documentaries About Eccentric People To Watch If You Liked Tiger King – Screen Rant

Posted: May 23, 2020 at 2:50 pm


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Tiger King may feel revolutionary, but documentaries about strange people are nothing new. Here are 10 great docs for any Tiger King fan.

Every so often, a television show comes along that, due to a variety of factors, manages to become a true hit, saturating every aspect of the cultural landscape. The Netflix series Tiger King is one such series, elevating what was before a relatively minor (if strange) criminal case into nothing less than a national phenomenon.

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While it is in many ways an utterly unique series, it is also part of a long documentary tradition documenting the lives of strange and eccentric people who occupy the margins of American society.

This is, arguably, the ultimate example of a documentary focusing on strange people. It focuses on two women, Big and Little Edie, who occupy a decaying mansion on Long Island. There is something utterly compelling about these two women (who were cousins of first lady Jackie Kennedy), their dysfunctional relationship, and the ruined grandeur around them.

The Maysles brothers who directed the film wring every bit of pathos out of it, inviting the viewer to sympathize with these women, even as they also remain strange and just a little bit unearthly.

Even the canniest viewer might be forgiven for not realizing that there is such a thing as competitive tickling. However, this subculture, if one can call it that, is exactly what is explored in this strange, subversive, and utterly compelling film.

Needless to say, there was some controversy associated with the subject matter (which, of course, has some rather unfortunate overtones), as well as the film itself. However, the critics absolutely loved it, and a sequel was actually produced.

Wine is one of those things that has a value even beyond its taste and its alcoholic content. Its quality, or lack thereof, says so much about not only ones class status, but about ones taste. Indeed, wine tasting and wine manufacture is a very serious business, which is why the subject of this documentary, wine fraud is so fascinating.

The film documents a scheme whereby Rudy Kurniawan took cheap wine and put more expensive labels on it. In showcasing the scheme, the film reveals both its brilliance and the way that wine is a powerful social signifier.

The Pacific Northwest has something of a reputation for attracting the kinds of people who want to set out on their own path, forging a new life for themselves. One of those people, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, is the subject of this documentary.

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Its an admittedly rather disturbing portrait of the Rajneeshee movement. What started out as a consciousness movement soon became tied up with assassination and bioterror. The film was praised by critics, though some also took it to task for various aspects of its story.

This is one of those true-crime films that is certainly not for the faint of heart. It begins as a manhunt for someone who recorded himself killing two kittens by suffocation, but soon became a larger manhunt after it was revealed that he also responsible for the murder and dismemberment of a Chinese international student.

The film received only a lukewarm reception, both due to the dubious intent of the filmmakers and the unfocused nature of the story.

Timothy Treadwell is one of those people who is unlike almost anyone else. A noted advocate for wild bears, he spent the last years of his troubled life living among them, much to the consternation of wildlife officials and his family and friends.

This films director, Werner Herzog, brings his signature style of existentialist rumination to the career of this troubled man, who was ultimately killed and partially eaten by one of the bears he so loved.

Set in upstate New York, this film focuses on the unusual death of an elderly man who lived with his brothers in a ramshackle home far from any other people. In particular, it focuses on the trial of one of his brothers, who was accused by the police of having committed the crime.

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It is a troubling rumination on the way that the criminal justice system works, and whether it actually works to the advantage of those who occupy the outer reaches of society.

The title of this film says it all. Its subject is the twisted relationship between a lawyer and his younger girlfriend and later wife. The bizarre aspect is that he hired a group of men to throw lye in her face, leaving her blind and scarred. Despite this, she later married him.

Its one of those films that is morbidly horrifying to watch. No matter how dismaying these people might be, and no matter how miserable they seem (and how miserable they make the viewer) it is almost impossible to look away.

West Virginia, and Appalachia more generally, has come to occupy a vexed place in American culture, as a place that has been largely left behind by modernity, occupied by strange and bizarre people.

The Whites are certainly both strange and bizarre, particularly Jesco, who has achieved some measure of fame as a dancer. The film is a startling insight into the lives of many Appalachians, which are scarred by decades of exploitation by various fossil fuel industries and the crushing weight of endemic poverty.

The right to privacy is one of those things that most people take for granted, and there are certain spaces one inhabits that are usually assumed to be off-limits to casual voyeurism. One of those is, certainly, the hotel room.

It is precisely the supposed inviolability of this space that makes this documentary, which focuses on a man allegedly liked to watch his guests, so viscerally disturbing. The film is a potent and troubling reminder of just how little privacy most people ultimately possess.

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10 Documentaries About Eccentric People To Watch If You Liked Tiger King - Screen Rant

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May 23rd, 2020 at 2:50 pm