Photo: Oxford University Press Blog

Smart films for Reading Week: Cars and Mother Nature

5 mins read

Welcome to your first break of the school year. You’ve spent your weekend relaxing and enjoying the prospect of a full week of either being back home, or staying in a bed far away from any lecture halls.

Now that reality’s dawning on you that you have to do work, stay on top of reading (the hint’s in the name) and do your assignments, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you can either stay stressed and learn, or lay back and have irresponsible fun.

Thankfully, there’s a middle ground: documentaries.

The best documentaries have been planned to be pleasant visually, with a compelling narrative and usually an appropriate soundtrack because such is the glue to any successful cinematic piece.  Here are three documentaries on cars and the environment for you to enjoy.

Apex: The Story of the Hypercar

Photo: Apex the Movie

If you fancy absurdly expensive cars whose very creators tell you their purchase is nothing rational, this documentary is for you.

The story of fast cars, made to be ever-lighter, ever-faster and always the apple of a billionaire’s eye is narrated by Zachary Levi (Flynn in Tangled, for you Disney fans). It features a beautiful soundtrack of classical music and some light electro, always there to help you enjoy a luxurious ride by proxy.

You’ll learn that the best in the hypercar business aren’t necessarily the ones with the prestigious diploma, just with a goal, imagination and – usually – a massive ego to balance it out.

Expect the soothing sound of an engine’s purr and its roar, beautiful shots of drifts and of the most impressive designs. Let Chris Harris’ childish excitement take you into the world of Pagani and Koenigsegg, in the comfort of your own room. (Duration: 1h25)

A Faster Horse

Photo: Ford Authority

Here’s the American Dream, a beautiful house for a beautiful family, with the white fence and the great neighbourhood. Nothing beats a legendary car, though.

This film will take you on a road trip through the USA, examining every last bit of the production of the Ford icon.

The documentary tells you about the history of the Mustang and the family behind it. You’ll see the lives of the people who ensure it’s the best car yet, and you’ll hear the unique sound of the horse’s engine. It’s something to experience.

If you’re not going away this week, this is a way of travelling and appreciating the passion of engineering of the everyman and woman (unlike the minds behind the hypercar).

Another story of overcoming the odds for passion and tradition. (Duration: 1h25)


Photo: Meatonomics

This one is a bit more militant, so you might want to approach it with an open mind. Leonardo DiCaprio and friends bring you a story of the environment and how what we consume affects our pretty little planet.

Data is presented in animation to make it more digestible, the narrator takes you on a ride of confronting the biggest NGOs in a quest for the truth about the impact of animal agriculture. Ultimately, it’s denser than the previous films.

If you’re in the mood to learn a bit more about what nature’s been through in the past century, this one’s for you. Some surprising facts will make you rethink what you know and you’ll come out a smarter person.

This documentary has a reputation for converting carnivores, so do take it with a pinch of salt, if you’re a meat and two potatoes person. (Duration: 1h30)

Hopefully these documentaries will prove helpful in winding you down and teaching you something without torturing your eyeballs.

Enjoy your reading week.

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