10 impactful documentaries you should watch on Netflix

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One of Us (2017)

Directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady are no strangers to tackling divisive topics within her film-making. In 2006, they co-directed Jesus Camp, a documentary that looked at a Christian summer camp, with particular focus on Evangelical teachings and ideologies. One of Us, released in 2017, is in a similar vein to Jesus Camp — it does not shy away from exploring and questioning religious doctrines, but this time the focus is on the outsiders.

One of Us follows three former Hasidic Jews who have been excommunicated from a Brooklyn-based Hasidic community. The documentary is led by it’s three main characters, all of whom are utterly compelling. Each of them have left the Hasidic Jewish community, which has meant leaving behind an entire life of friends, family, history and a place to call home. Luzer, Ari and Etty all have their own reasons for leaving, but the pain and grief is a shared experience. Floating between their stories, One of Us flicks back and forth between the three of them giving a sense that although these are personal stories, there is something more institutional going on here.

Perhaps most importantly of all, One of Us does not critique or point fingers. It merely exposes the contradictions that can be found within any religious organization or community. It centers on humanity, empathy and an awareness for others living outside of our own world views, and asks why others cannot do the same. It’s a hard watch (definitely make sure you have tissues on hand), but one that needs to be seen.