One of the best ways to improve your understanding of current events is to watch new documentaries that provide a deeper analysis of what’s going on.

We live in a strange time and it looks likely to only get stranger. There’s the ongoing covid nightmare, economic irrationality, growing inequality, societal breakdown and the rise of new systems of belief where people try to make sense of a world that doesn’t make a lot of sense anymore.

The one documentary that has really blown me away in 2021 is Adam Curtis’ new film Can’t Get You Out of My Head that looks at the growing hysteria, irrationality and breakdown in Western societies. It is a long series of 6 films but it is definitely worth watching.

1. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World

Legendary BBC Documentarian Adam Curtis returns after 2016’s critically acclaimed documentary film Hypernormalisation with what may be his most ambitious 6-part series yet exploring the tension between the individual and state power in the West.

2. Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon 

Archaeologist and explorer Ella al-Shamahi heads for South America, in search of legendary cities and the lost civilizations of the Amazon rainforest.

3. Q’s Going Nowhere: Talking To A Cult Deprogrammer About Qanon

This documentary film explored the Qanon phenomenon and the explosion of far-right cults, conspiracies and extremist in the social media era.

4. China’s COVID Secrets

Frontline tackles the untold story of the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and how China responded with interviews from leading Chinese scientists and doctors, international disease experts and health officials.

5. American Psychosis

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges on systemic narcissism, psychopathy and the retreat into illusion in contemporary American culture.

6. The Roots Of US-China Tensions: When Titans Clash

One of the best and unbiased documentaries about growing US-China rivalry and what it means for the future of the world.

7. Beating COVID-19

While this is in Mandarin with English subtitles, it’s worth watching because Taiwan has been one of the most successful countries in beating the virus (10 recorded deaths out of 23.5 million people) without lockdowns and disruption to citizens’ lives. 

8. Common Sense in a Senseless World

Thomas Sowell is a renowned economists, political philosophers, and prolific authors. Hosted by Jason Riley, a member of “The Wall Street Journal”, this one-hour program features insights from Sowell and interviews with his close friends and associates.

9. America’s New Gurus

Shamans, life coaches and spiritualists are doing good business thanks to people’s search for meaning. One guru’s career is continuing, despite the deaths of his followers.

10. Cryptocurrency: The Rise of Digital Currency

The meteoric rise of Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital cryptocurrencies is shining a light on these new forms of monetary value and exchange. This film tells the story of the rise of cryptocurrencies in the last decade.