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Live and Learn: Books, documentaries and podcast recommendations

A selection of thought-provoking documentaries, books and podcasts from the Ariana team.

If you’re looking for new inspiration, you have come to the right place. Check out these documentaries, books and podcasts – handpicked by the Ariana team.

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution

In the 1970s, teenagers with disabilities faced discrimination. But Camp Jened, a New York-based summer camp for young people with disabilities founded in the 1950s, provided a sense of community. Crip Camp, an award-winning documentary, traces the camp’s pivotal role in the disability rights movement.

Crip Camp Netflix
Credit: Netflix

The Farewell

Featuring an all-Asian cast, including rapper-turned-actress Awkwafina and actor Tzi Ma, The Farewell tells the story of a young Chinese-American woman who visits her ancestral home to say goodbye to her dying grandmother. What ensues is a celebration of family, laced with generational and cultural differences.

Print
Credit: A24 Films

Stray

Stray follows three street dogs through Istanbul, uncovering the city’s neglected corners and people. From this unconventional perspective, Director Elizabeth Lo shows what life is like for many outcasts who scrape by without status, security or support.

Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story

American LGBT+ rights activist Jacob Tobia’s memoir offers an eye-opening account of what it’s like to grow up as a genderqueer person in the conservative state of North Carolina. Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story oscillates between reflection and hilarious anecdotes, ultimately shedding light on the experiences of genderqueer people.

Sissy By Jacob Tobia Jacob Tobia
Credit: Putnam Books

Living on Earth

One of the first radio shows dedicated to environmental awareness, Living on Earth has been running on National Public Radio in the US since 1991. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Curwood, the show touches on a range of issues, always returning to the theme of how humans interact with nature – and why these actions matter.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Titicut Follies

This 1967 documentary by director Frederick Wiseman provided shocking insight into the lives of patient-inmates at the Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane in Massachusetts. 

Before its debut, the Massachusetts state government attempted to ban the film, citing violations of patient privacy and dignity. Wiseman later agreed to only share the film for educational purposes.

Five decades on, Titicut Follies remains one of the most influential films about psychiatric care, showing that inhumane mental institutions do more harm than good. Copies of the DVD can be ordered online.