Joshua Oppenheimer's acclaimed twin films The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence and Jonas Poher Rasmussen's Flee find themselves at top spots on ambitious Top 52 list of documentaries in the world.

The Internet is stuffed with lists of almost all topics within the film and TV industry - from top 75s of the best films about diabetes to top 25s of the best zombie series on Netflix. Of course most of this is just for entertainment. However, some lists require a closer and more serious look, like “The 52 Best Documentaries of the 21st Century”.

The number “52” may suggest a non-serious attitude, but the website behind the list is the opposite of non-serious. IndieWire was launched almost 30 years ago as the independent industry’s alternative to mainstream magazines like Hollywood Reporter and Variety. Since then it has broadened its territory, and has started including mainstream entertainment, but its point of view is still independent, non-commercial and thought-provoking.

From a Nordic perspective, there are three very good reasons to celebrate IndieWire’s top 52 list, which thoroughly elaborates on the entries. Surrounded by world famous filmmakers like the USA’s Michael Moore, England’s Asif Kapadia, Germany’s Werner Herzog, and Iran’s Jafar Panahi, three Nordic films pop up. Number 10 on the list is The Look of Silence (2014), directed by American but Copenhagen-based Joshua Oppenheimer. Number 4 is Flee (Flugt) (2021) by another Copenhagener, Jonas Poher Rasmussen, while the top spot, number 1, belongs to a second film by Joshua Oppenheimer, The Act of Killing (2012). All three films are produced by Signe Byrge Sørensen for the Danish company Final Cut for Real, and backed by Nordisk Film & TV Fond. Flee is also produced by Monica Hellström and Charlotte De La Gournerie.

The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence both deal with the killing of more than half a million communists, feminists, trade unionists and atheists in Indonesia in the mid-60s. While The Act of Killing asks the killers to re-enact their experiences in the 60s as if they were film scenes, The Look of Silence is seen from the perspective of a family which lost a member, and confronts one of the executioners.

Flee is an animated documentary about a homosexual young man fleeing from Afghanistan to Denmark in the 1990s. It has received close to 100 awards and made Danish film history when it was nominated for three Oscars in 2022, having won the Nordic Council Film Prize in 2021 - as the first documentary ever.

To full list: CLICK HERE.