Frédéric Tcheng's Five Favourite Documentaries

We asked Dior and I director Frédéric Tcheng to share his Five Favourite Documentaries with us. Frédéric Tcheng is a French-born filmmaker. Originally trained in civil engineering, he moved to New York City in 2002 to obtain a Masters of Fine Arts from Columbia University’s film school. He co-produced and co-edited Valentino: The Last Emperor, the 2009 hit shortlisted for the Best Documentary Oscar. He is the co-director of Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel, a Samuel Goldwyn release. Frederic also signed the cinematography of Sarah Riggs' cine-poem Six Lives and Erika Frankel's King George.  He is currently developing several narrative features. 

On the Bowery (Lionel Rogosin)

Frédéric's first pick is the 1956 classic, On the Bowery, which follows a groups of homeless 'bums' that hang out in New York City's Bowery area. The film won the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary and was nominated for the Academy Award in the Best Documentary Feature category.


Marlene (Maximilian Schell)

Marlene is a 1984 documentary that centers on the famous German Actress, Marlene Dietrich. Director Maximilian Schell is a german actor who met Marlene when they worked together on Judgment at Nuremberg in 1961. Marlene was not interested in making a documentary about her life, when she eventually agreed she did so under the condition that she would not appear on screen. Therefore the film only features audio commentary from Dietrich accompanied by stills and film clips of the actress.

Cracked Actor (Alan Yentob)

Cracked Actor was produced for the BBC and portrays David Bowie on tour as he struggles with a cocaine addiction. The 1975 film has rare access to Bowie on stage, off stage and offers a glimpse into the private life of a rock star. The title comes from a 1973 David Bowie song of the same name.


Race d'Ep (Lionel Soukaz, Guy Hocquenghem)

This 1979 french film was shot during a period of mass demonstrations for homosexual liberation. The title itself is a french slang term for homosexual, upon release the film shocked many and was first rated X. Following support from many intellectuals including Michel Foucault, a new censored version of the film was allowed to be screened.


Chronicle of a Summer (Jean Rouch, Edgar Morin)

Chronicle of a Summer is a 1961 film that was shot over the course of one summer (1960) that questions if sincerity can ever be achieved in front of the camera. The subjects are asked to discuss topics in front of the camera and then asses their own sincerity when shown back the footage. The film is widely considered to be one of the most influential films on the course of cinema history.


For more with Fred watch our director interview with him: