10 Best Documentaries of 2017

From families in Philly to protests in Ferguson, sweat shops in Calcutta to head trips in Haight-Ashbury – our picks for the year's best, boldest docs

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1. 'Faces Places'

She's a 89-year-old pioneer of the French New Wave and an elder stateswoman of world cinema; he's a 34-year-old enfant terrible of the photography world that loves street art and perpetual sunglasses-wearing. (Press play on this now.) No one could have predicted that Agnes Varda and the gentleman known simply as JR would be the screen duo of 2017. Or that a doc on the two of them traveling through the French countryside, armed with only a printer that makes mammoth pictures and a boundless sense of curiosity, would be one of the most moving, beautiful, life-affirming 90 minutes you'd spend in the dark this year. The joy of riding shotgun with the two of them as they take snapshots of farmers, factory workers, wives, daughters, octogenarians and kids – then blow those photos up to poster- and/or building-size – while eavesdropping on conversations about life, art, movies, mortality and the necessity of being seen can not be overstated. All that, and a cameo (sort of) by "dirty rat" Jean-Luc Godard and Varda singing Anita Ward's "Ring My Bell." A masterpiece.

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