Documentaries You Need to See in March 2023

This month's new documentaries to watch at home and in theaters include the latest Oscar-nominated film by Laura Poitras.

Collage of new documentaries

Welcome to Documental, a monthly column keeping fans of nonfiction films and docuseries up to date on all the documentary content coming to theaters and your favorite streaming services. Here’s a guide to the essential documentary titles to watch in March 2023.

The third month of the year on this third planet from the Sun brings a lot of incredible nonfiction content for your viewing pleasure. March is Women’s History Month, of course, and that means the streaming services are spotlighting films made by and about women, which like Black History selections deserve to be showcased all the time. As long as they’re given the platform, though, we’re going to direct your attention toward these must-see documentaries. For instance, a couple of our favorite films by and about women from 2022 are finally making their debut on streaming services this month. Meanwhile, one of our favorite new discoveries hitting theaters this month has no calendrical theme related to its release.

Here are some of the essentials from this month, including many works by women:

Nonfics Pick of the Month: Laura Poitras’s Third Oscar-Nominated Documentary Feature – All The Beauty And The Bloodshed

Nan Goldman in All the Beauty and the Bloodshed


On March 12, another lucky film will be named the Best Documentary Feature by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. One of the contenders is the latest from Laura Poitras, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, and it marks her third nomination in the category — she won with her second time, for Citizenfour. Whether it wins or not, we recommend watching the film when it arrives on HBO Max one week later. The doc is one of the richest nonfiction works in some time, as it’s a biographical artist profile and a powerful issue film in one. Photographer Nan Goldin shares her creative genius, her life’s tragedies, and her triumphant activism against the Sackler family for their part in the opioid crisis, all of which come together for a deep and emotional ride.

In addition to its recognition at the Oscars, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed was nominated for two Critics Choice Documentary Awards and the BAFTA Film Award for Best Documentary, and it came in second place on Nonfics’ own poll-driven list of the best documentaries of 2022. Before that, it debuted at the Venice Film Festival and took home its top prize, a rarity for documentaries, and it’s been racking up numerous other accolades ever since. Now it’s just time for home viewers to get to know Goldin and see her strength and her very difficult but very inspiring efforts toward personal and global justice. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed premieres on HBO Max on March 19.

Hidden Letters

Hidden Letters nushu

Cargo Films and Releasing

Another new documentary directed by women and focused on rebellious women arriving in March 2023, Violet Du Feng and Qing Zhao’s Hidden Letters was surprisingly overlooked among the best of 2022. Its festival run, which began at Tribeca, and its late-December theatrical release were very quiet, but hopefully, audiences will tune in when it airs and then streams at the end of the month. The doc follows two millennial-age feminist Chinese women who are both challenging and embracing their culture and its traditions through their interest in the secret written language Nüshu, which itself was historically a form of women’s liberation. Hidden Letters makes its broadcast debut on PBS via Independent Lens on March 27, with free streaming likely beginning on the PBS website the following day.

Gods Of Mexico

Gods of Mexico documentary salt pans


While both of the above films have some beautiful visuals, Gods of Mexico is an extraordinary treat for your eyes, as well as for your ears, and it’s really terrific that the documentary is being released on the big screen. Directed and shot by Helmut Dosantos, much of it in monochrome, the film takes viewers on a trip around Mexico to witness rural life and labor, from an extensive look at the workers in salt pans to portraits of people in the country’s deserts and jungles. Like Hidden Letters, Gods of Mexico celebrates the ways of the past, though it’s much more concentrated on maintaining those traditions and not at all embracing modernization in land or culture. Gods of Mexico opens in theaters on March 3 along with two other Mexican documentaries: Teodora Ana Mihai’s La Civil and Rodrigo Reyes’s Sansón and Me.

In Viaggio: The Travels of Pope Francis

Pope Francis looking out his plane window in In Viaggio documentary.

Magnolia Pictures

It would be easy to dismiss the numerous documentaries being made about the pope if so many weren’t being made by great filmmakers: Wim Wenders, Evgeny Afineevsky, and now Gianfranco Rosi. This one is a particular must-see for any fan of Rosi (that should be all documentary enthusiasts) as it was inspired by trips made by Pope Francis that reminded the filmmaker of his recent docs Fire at Sea and Notturno. For the non-devout, it helps that the subject of In Viaggio: The Travels of Pope Francis is a more interesting pope than some of his predecessors, particularly for his progressive and just plain modern views that better reflect the world of today. In Viaggio opens in theaters on March 31.

Documentary Release Calendar for March 2023

DateTitleStreaming ServiceNote
3/1Cheat - Season 1NetflixNetflix Original Series
Forged in Fire: Knife or Death - Season 2Netflix
Going Fur Gold - Season 1Disney+
Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger (2014)HBO Max
Loving Highsmith (2022)The Criterion ChannelExclusive Streaming Premiere
So Late So Soon (2020)The Criterion ChannelExclusive Streaming Premiere
Mother, I Am Suffocating. This Is My Last Film About You. (2019)The Criterion ChannelExclusive Streaming Premiere
Tranceformer: A Portrait of Lars von Trier (1997)The Criterion Channel
A Fuller Life (2013)The Criterion Channel
Maid Servant (1981)The Criterion ChannelLabor and Love: 8 Documentaries By Deepa Dhanraj
Tobacco Embers (1982)The Criterion ChannelLabor and Love: 8 Documentaries By Deepa Dhanraj
Is This Just a Story? (1983)The Criterion ChannelLabor and Love: 8 Documentaries By Deepa Dhanraj
Sudesha (1983)The Criterion ChannelLabor and Love: 8 Documentaries By Deepa Dhanraj
What Happened to This City? (1986)The Criterion ChannelLabor and Love: 8 Documentaries By Deepa Dhanraj
Something Like a War (1991)The Criterion ChannelLabor and Love: 8 Documentaries By Deepa Dhanraj
Love in the Time of AIDS (2006)The Criterion ChannelLabor and Love: 8 Documentaries By Deepa Dhanraj
Invoking Justice (2011)The Criterion ChannelLabor and Love: 8 Documentaries By Deepa Dhanraj
Ornette: Made in America (1985)The Criterion ChannelAfrofuturism
The Upsetter: The Life and Music of Lee Scratch Perry (2008)The Criterion ChannelAfrofuturism
Milford Graves Full Mantis (2018)The Criterion ChannelAfrofuturism
1968 < 2018 > 2068 (2018)The Criterion ChannelAfrofuturism
Def Comedy Jam - Seasons 1-7Amazon Prime Video
An Inconvenient Truth (2006)Paramount+
An Inconvenient Sequel: True to Power (2017)Paramount+
Bruce Lee, The Legend (1984)Paramount+
Jackass Number Two (2006)Paramount+
Survivor - Season 4Paramount+
3/2 Almost Home (2005)OVIDOVID Exclusive
As Goes Janesville (2012)OVIDOVID Exclusive
Penelope (2013)OVIDOVID Exclusive
There Are Jews Here (2016)OVID
I Am Georgina - Season 2NetflixNetflix Original Series
Monique Olivier: Accessory to Evil (2023)NetflixNetflix Original Series
Marlon Wayans: God Loves Me (2023)HBO MaxMax Original Premiere
Underground (2023)PBSIndependent Lens
3/3 In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal (2023)NetflixNetflix Original Series
Next in Fashion - Season 2NetflixNetflix Original Series
Finding Michael (2023)Disney+Disney+ Original
Dino Death Match (2015)Disney+
The Next Mega Tsunami (2014)Disney+
Gods of Mexico (2022)In Theaters
La Civil (2021)In Theaters
Sansón and Me (2022)In Theaters
3/7Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda Forever - Episode 2, "Mexico: Con La Brisa" (2023)Disney+
Geographies of Solitude (2022)In Theaters
3/8The Challenge: World Championship (2023)Paramount+Series Premiere
RuPaul's Drag Race - Season 14Paramount+
RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked - Season 13Paramount+
In Our Own Hands (2020)OVIDOVID Exclusive - SVOD Premiere
It Is Not Over Yet (2021)OVIDOVID Exclusive - SVOD Premiere
MH370: The Plane That Disappeared (2023)NetflixNetflix Original
Africa's Deadliest - Seasons 2, 3, 4 & 5Disney+
M Power (2023)Disney+
3/9Farmer Wants a Wife - Season 1 PremiereHulu
National Geographic Investigates: Narco States Aftermath: Special PremiereHulu
Promise of Justice: End Plantation (2023)In Theaters
3/10The Divided Brain (2018)OVIDOVID Exclusive
Jackass Forever (2022)Amazon Prime Video
Sin Eater (2023)HuluThe New York Times Presents
Outlast - Season 1NetflixNetflix Original Series
I Got a Monster (2023)In Theaters
3/13Reconquistador (2023)In Theaters
3/14I Am Secretly an Important Man (2011)OVID
Bert Kreischer: Razzle Dazzle (2023)NetflixNetflix Original
Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda Forever - Episode 3, "London: Bring It Home" (2023)Disney+
3/15True Life Crime - Season 2Paramount+
VH1's Couple's Retreat - Season 2Paramount+
Another Paradise (2019)OVID
Voices From Chernobyl (2017)OVID
Money Shot: The PornHub Story (2023)NetflixNetflix Original
The Law of the Jungle - Season 1NetflixNetflix Original Series
Turning the Tables with Robin Roberts - Season 2Disney+Disney+ Original Series
Engineering Connections - Seasons 1 & 2Disney+National Geographic
Mariupol: The People's Story (2023)
3/16Intervention - Season 3Hulu
From Food to Freedom (2023)In Theaters
3/17How the Tables Have Turned - Season 1Paramount+
Until the Light Takes Us (2009)OVID
Dance 100 - Season 1NetflixNetflix Original Series
Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming with Dave Letterman (2023)Disney+
Hippo vs. Croc (2014)Disney+National Geographic
Today (2023)In Theaters
3/19All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (2022)HBO Max
3/20 Storming Caesars Palace (2022)PBSIndependent Lens
3/21A Simple Matter of Justice (1993)OVIDOVID Exclusive
Eye on the Guy (2006)OVIDOVID Exclusive
Dr. Tony Fauci (2023)PBSAmerican Masters
3/22 Waco: American Apocalypse (2023)NetflixNetflix Original Series
How to Win at Everything - Season 1Disney+National Geographic
Restaurants at the End of the World - Season 1Disney+
Superstructures: Engineering Marvels - Season 1Disney+
Louis Tomlinson: All of Those Voices (2023)In Theaters
3/23The Lesson Is Murder (2023)HuluHulu Original/ABC News
Digging for the Truth - Season 1Hulu
Maletero (2023)PBSIndependent Lens
3/24Myanmar Diaries (2022)OVIDOVID Exclusive - SVOD Premiere
A Place Called Wahala (2021)OVIDOVID Exclusive - SVOD Premiere
The Resolute (2017)OVID
Reggie (2023)Amazon Prime Video
Love is Blind - Season 4NetflixNetflix Original Series
Witness to Disaster - Season 1Disney+National Geographic
Rabble Rousers: Francis Goldin and the Fight for Cooper Square (2022)In Theaters
3/26Big Smooth (2023)In Theaters
3/27Hidden Letters (2022)PBSIndependent Lens
3/28Mae Martin: SAP (2023)NetflixNetflix Original
3/29Jersey Shore: Family Vacation - Season 4Paramount+
Messyness - Seasons 1 & 2Paramount+
Teen Mom 2 - Season 11Paramount+
3/31In Viaggio: The Travels of Pope Francis (2022)In Theaters

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.