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Screen Time: Week of October 31, 2022

By Kelsey Brown

Dilma Rousseff, the former president of Brazil, is applauded  while  Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, her predecessor, who was just elected president for the second time, on October 30, 2022, raises her hand in the air. From Petra Costa’s ‘The Edge of Democracy.’ Photo courtesy of Netflix. Screen Time is your curated weekly guide to excellent documentaries and nonfiction programs that you can watch at home.

In observance of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s presidential win in Brazil, Petra Costa’s 2019 documentary The Edge of Democracy explores the convoluted path to democracy in Brazil. The documentary is both an IDA Award nominee and an Academy Award nominee, and is able to transform complex politics into an absorbing and interesting documentary. Watch now on Netflix. 

In the festivity of Halloween, many of these documentaries feature pressing issues that may forge fear. Though only one of these documentaries discuss the paranormal, these docs will still manage to give you goosebumps. 

Burning Questions: Covering Climate Change Now is a chilling documentary about the warming of our globe. Award-winning journalists from a multitude of outlets– The Guardian, Agence-France Presse, the Los Angeles Times, Al Jazeera English, to name a few– collaborated on this one-hour documentary that aims to address critical questions around climate change. Watch now on the WORLD channel.

A quick investigation into the rise of domestic terrorism and white supremacy in the US comes from Extremism in America. The Retro Report doc explains the upsurge in the lethality of the radical right and how its violent discourse is spread and ignored by those in power. This 27-minute documentary is also available for streaming on the WORLD channel. 

If you’re a lover of documentaries and horror films, Jay Cheel’s Cursed Films is for you. The docuseries investigates infamous Hollywood horror films– like Poltergeist, The Exorcist and The Omen– rumored to be cursed. Stay scared safely inside this Halloween and stream the docuseries, which has two seasons available on Shudder.

Tik, Tok, Boom!, from Shalini Kantayya, examines the real-life impact of the app that has Gen Z, and beyond, in a chokehold. The documentary navigates the effects of TikTok’s addictive algorithms, but also the racial bias the app perpetuates through shadowbanning. Watch now on PBS’ Independent Lens.

From NOVA comes Ocean Invaders, a nature documentary on one of the most invasive species terrorizing oceanic environments: the lionfish. The doc dives into how globalization drives the invasion of these species, resulting in unstable ecosystems. Available now on PBS.