1. When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006)
Spike Lee’s first documentary, a four-part effort, on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the devastating floods in New Orleans is the most essential look at the disaster and an extraordinary tribute to its victims and survivors. Part oral and archival history lesson, part anger-inducing issue film, it blends the personal and broad, taking on what happened during and after the storm, from catastrophe to cataclysmic ordeal. And even then, while definitely a complete and exhaustive effort on its own, When the Levees Broke makes way for more as the stories continue, some of them documented again by Lee with the worthy follow-up If God is Willing and da Creek Don’t Rise ( unfortunately, not currently available to stream via HBO). The first film and its kin serves as devastating reminders that the story doesn't end when the cameras are turned off.