"I watch as many documentaries as I can," says Ken Burns, whose seven-part, 14-hour World War II epic The War starts on pbs September 23. "We are really in the golden age of documentaries right now." Some of his recommendations of classic films and filmmakers worth seeking out:
1 Robert Flaherty's groundbreaking Arctic silent Nanook of the North (1922)
2 John Grierson's Night Mail (1936): "A beautiful film that followed the mail from Edinburgh, Scotland, to London, England. Just an amazing black-and-white film."
3 Frederick Wiseman and John Marshall's Titicut Follies (1967): "Still one of the best cinema vérité films of all time."
4 Albert and David Maysles' rockumentary Gimme Shelter (1970)
5 Errol Morris, director of The Thin Blue Line and The Fog of War: "I loved Errol Morris from the very beginning. I think he's one of our great filmmakers."
6 Jeff Blitz's Spellbound (2002): "Amazing film about a spelling bee— who thought you could be at the edge of your seat worrying about that?"
7 Michael Moore: "You'd obviously want to study Michael Moore to understand how propaganda works."