Programs Recommendations

Better Together: Feature Films Paired with Documentaries

by Public Service Associate Juliana

  • Blaze | dvd pairs well with Heartworn Highways | dvd

I recently borrowed a feature film that happened to pair perfectly with a documentary I’d watched the month prior.  I love serendipitous moments like this, when threads connect and suddenly things deepen and contextualize before your very eyes. 

I’d been drawn to the 2018 film, Blaze, simply because Alia Shawkat was on the cover. Much to my delight, the subject matter of the film ties in to the 1976 music documentary I’d recently watched called Heartworn Highways. Blaze, as it turns out, is a biopic featuring the musician Blaze Foley who ran with the Outlaw Country crowd featured in Heartworn Highways. I would have thoroughly enjoyed Blaze had I not seen Heartworn Highways, but I loved the foundation the documentary provided, that I came to the film with background  knowledge of the musicians, the movement, and the era.

Here at BPL there is potential for millions of serendipitous moments such as this, which makes me excited to come to work everyday! To help facilitate these experiences, we’ve built a lovely display of film pairings that showcase a wide range of tastes and interests. Come browse or reserve some of the examples below. 

And if documentaries are your thing or if you’re interested in history, plan to attend our January screening and discussion of Nanook of the North. Nanook of the North, the first ever feature-length documentary, is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Join us to view this classic film and learn more from Layla Muchnik-Benali about the film’s complex legacy. This silent film classic has sparked debates about documentary ethics, representation, ethnography, and orientalism. Register here


  • Mad Men | dvd pairs well with Bert Stern: Original Mad Man |dvd
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild | dvd pairs well with When the Levees Broke | dvd
  • Lords of Chaos | dvd pairs well with Until the Light Takes Us |dvd
  • J.T. Leroy | dvd pairs well with Author: The JT Leroy Story | dvd