DOC NYC 2017: Six Must-See Selections

Featured Critic; New York City, New York
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DOC NYC, the largest documentary featival in the US, returns for its 8th edition, running from November 9-16, and screening at IFC Center, SVA Theatre, and Cinepolis Chelsea. This year's slate includes well over 100 features, and includes new works by veterans such as Errol Morris, Barbara Kopple, and Sam Pollard, as well as newer talents. 

The festival opens with The Final Year, Greg Barker's document of the last few months of the Obama administration, and closes with Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, Lili Fini Zanuck's look at the life of the rock legend, who will appear at the screening. New sections have been added to the lineup, adding to the wide range of featured subject matter, ranging from current political and social issues, to music, film, and performing arts, as well as New York-centric documentaries.

Below are my picks of some of this year's must-sees. For more information on these and other films, and to purchase tickets, visit DOC NYC's website.

THE FINAL YEAR (Greg Barker) *OPENING NIGHT FILM

This fascinating, and - if you're of the progressive political persuasion - sadness-inducing film follows the Obama administration's last few months before the presidential election, as they pursue their global policy goals and try to cement Obama's legacy. This story is mostly told from the perspectives of three key figures: Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Ambassador Samantha Power, and speechwriter and communications advisor Ben Rhodes.

As the film accompanies Obama and his team in their visits to 21 countries, the poignancy grows with our awareness that the passionately pursued diplomacy they tirelessly worked toward would soon be undone. Rhodes' literal speechlessness after Trump's election of victory is one of the most memorable moments, echoing the despairing ending that surely the film's participants, filmmakers and subjects alike, hardly anticipated.

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