6 Picks From John Maclean: The ‘Slow West’ Director Shares His Favorite Documentaries

John Maclean/IMDb

John Maclean’s new, Sundance-winning film Slow West is an impressive feature debut, a thrilling take on the Western genre with another terrific turn by Michael Fassbender. The actor already has quite the working relationship with Maclean, having previously appeared in the shorts Man on a Motorcycle and Pitch Black Heist, the latter a 14-minute gem that garnered the filmmaker a prestigious BAFTA award (watch it here).

From his start as an art student at the Royal College, Maclean went on to craft music videos for his own groups, The Beta Band and The Aliens. You can even find tunes he penned on the soundtrack to beloved films, including High Fidelity. He’s most definitely a filmmaker to watch, and he has hinted that his next project might again star his good luck charm, Fassbender. It’ll be interesting to see what he builds upon the success of the terrific Slow West.

As part of our ongoing Pick Six campaign, Nonfics reached out to Maclean for his favorite nonfiction films. He included one cheeky pick that’ll definitely go up to 11. Here are his picks:

The Atomic Cafe (Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty, Pierce Rafferty, 1982)

“A superb collage/montage film using newsreel clips, television news footage, U.S. government-produced films (including military training films), advertisements, television and radio programs.”

The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris, 1988)

“[I love it] for obvious reasons and must mention the score by Philip Glass. Driving, emotional and tense.”

Hoop Dreams (Steve James, 1994)

“Like the best documentaries, [the film] reaches beyond its subjects and becomes a metaphor for society in general.”

Shermans March (Ross McElwee, 1985)

Jon Ronson had the VHS tape of this film and passed it on to me, so credit goes to him. [It’s] the best example of a doc which begins about a subject but becomes about the filmmaker.”

This Is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1994)

“A fantastic documentary about a great underrated band.”

Senna (Asif Kapadia, 2010)

“A great doc shows us we don’t need to know or even like the sport, in this case Formula 1, to love the documentary. Heroes, villans, action, adventure and tragedy.”

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