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Faith in Humanity, Restored: 4 Documentaries Worth Watching

If you're ever feeling emotionally dried out, watch one of these movies and let the waterworks begin. Here, trailers for must-see old and new documentaries that will restore your faith in humanity.

Remember How to Hope

For 511 days, 38 members of two Jewish families, the Stermers and the Wexlers, hid from the Nazis during World War II by living underground in two caves in western Ukraine. There were many close calls—a mother and son died at the hands of a Ukrainian policeman—but the remaining cave dwellers stayed alive until the war’s end with limited resources and infinite patience. In No Place On Earth, director Janet Tobias interviews ordeal survivors Saul Stermer, now 92, his younger brother Sam, and their nieces, Sima and Sonia Dodyk and takes them back to the cave that they once called home.

Remember How to Learn

When director Tom Shadyac (Bruce Almighty, The Nutty Professor) had a bike accident that left him incapacitated, he decided that his life needed to change. When he recovered, Shadyac sold his house, moved into a mobile home, and set off to interview leaders in science, philosophy, and religion—Desmond Tutu makes an appearance—to ask them, “What is wrong with the world and what can we do about it?” Although the answers are varied, the consensus in the I Am documentary is that we’re all much more interconnected than we think. The documentary teaches us to embrace our differences, like this community that united against antisemitism. 

Remember How to Protect

The Cove is a call to action film to halt mass dolphin kills, change Japanese fishing practices, and to inform and educate the public about the risks, and increasing hazard, of mercury poisoning from dolphin meat. Roughly 23,000 dolphins and porpoises are killed in Japan every year after they are herded into a hidden cove, are netted and stabbed to death with spears and knives. Portions of this documentary were filmed secretly using underwater microphones and high-definition cameras disguised as rocks to get an inside look at this brutal reality. This 1954 essay on humanity is more relevant today than ever before. 

Remember How to Dream

Man on Wire is a documentary that follows Frenchman Phillippe Petit, who performed a high-wire walk between the two World Trade Center skyscrapers in New York in 1974, as he prepares and trains for his impossible (and highly illegal) mission. The lesson behind his tale: follow your dreams, no matter how lofty they are.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest