Obsessions make for fascinating documentary stories, with the documentarian often matching the levels of obsession in bringing that story to life. As the theme takes over the DocHouse cinema from mid-March, we take a look at some special documentaries to obsess over in your own time at home.

The Gravity of Time / Brandan Lee Keller / 2023 / US / 5 mins

Think you might take a few too many photos with that smart phone? You wouldn’t be clicking away so easily if the process involved this level of technical skill. Large Format Tintype Photographer Victor Vague sheds light on his somewhat forgotten art practice in which he obsesses over both his craft and subjects.

Watch above, and see more here.

The Truffle Hunters / Michael Dweck Gregory Kershaw /2020 / Italy / 84 mins

They may be an acquired taste – but these truffle aficionados couldn’t acquire it soon enough! Enter the world of Piedmont, Northern Italy and witness a lifetime of dedication to a condiment that’s found in the mud but served on silver plates. Full of surprise and constant wonder, this is a charming film that drops you inside a world you’ve probably never seen before. 

Watch online options on JustWatch here.

A Broken House /Jimmy Goldblum / 2020 / US / 21 mins

Memories can sometimes be tangible. Photographs, souvenirs, family heirlooms – but what if those are out of reach? In this beautiful and moving depiction of Syrian architect Mohamad Hafez, we watch as he reconstructs miniature models of his hometown, Damascus. As his city comes to life in painstaking detail, thoughts emerge of his experiences since leaving home, and his obsession of making something that would somehow bring him back.

Watch above, and see more here.

The Magic of Chess / Jenny Schweitzer Bell / 2019 / US / 5 mins

Try to keep up with these young experts in the game they love most, chess. Filmmaker Jenny Schweitzer Bell explores the benefits of the game from the perspective of hopefuls at the 2019 Elementary Chess Championships in Nashville. What does it take to make a great chess player? Bravery, patience, mistakes and…practice, practice, practice! 

Watch above, and see more here.

Taming the Garden / Salomé Jashi / 2021 / Georgia/Germany / 86 mins

Breathe In, Breathe Out – this gem of a documentary is a meditation on screen, albeit with a troubling undertone. Wealthy former prime minister of Georgia – Bidzina Ivanishvili – obsesses over his private garden, where ancient trees from all over the country have been brought by hook or crook. Whilst amassing his personal forest, it emerges what a powerful presence these trees have in the communities from which they’ve been removed – a collective obsession over something not known until it is gone.

Watch Taming the Garden on Mubi, Apple TV and Dogwoof on Demand

Flower Punk / Alison Klayman / 2019 / Japan/US / 29mins

Obsessions can be dangerous, but they can also be beautiful. Flowers and their dynamic nature take centre stage in this rock’n’roll doc about Japanese floral artist Azuma Makoto’s arrangement with the natural world. From launching flowers into space, to submerging them in the depths of the ocean, the artist pursues dynamic environments to display his art in a compelling quest to explore the limits of his practice and what it represents.

Watch above, and see more here.

My Octopus Teacher / Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed / 2020 / South Africa / 85mins

Human and animal bonds often develop in unusual circumstances. Whilst some are much more unusual than others, a bond between a human and an octopus seems particularly bizarre. But not when you take a deeper look. Through multiple encounters with the octopus, its character slowly emerges and a teacher is found with its primary lesson being: we are not so different then we think.

Watch My Octopus Teacher on Netflix

You can catch up on our Q&A for this film here.