3 most badass gangs documentaries you just have to watch

RTD’s gangs documentaries give surprising insights into the realities of life for gang members and those who live in the territories in which they roam. Beyond the clichés, they depict shocking inhumanity, heart-breaking tragedies, involuntary comedy and public policy dilemmas caused by this type of crime on every continent, from Asia to the Americas. Here are our top three gangs documentaries:

1. Yakuza: Good For Nothing

Members of Japan’s feared Yakuza crime syndicate are often portrayed as grim-faced professional killers in sharp black suits and dark glasses, but this film shows a somewhat different reality. Meet Mr. Makoto, a tubby tattooed Yakuza mobster and ‘old-fashioned guy’ who shows how the life of a gangster in modern-day Japan ain’t what it used to be.

2. Machete Boys of Congo

Teenagers and gangs often belong together in the public’s anxious imagination. This film shows what it feels like to belong to a youth gang, by following members of the Kulunas, youth gangs that infect the cities of the Democratic Republic of Congo. For the youngsters of impoverished neighbourhoods in the port city of Matadi, belonging to a gang gives them some revenue, but no law or moral code. In their teenage years, the Kulunas have already earned a reputation as ruthless outlaws who prowl streets, steal from locals, extort money from businesses and fight each other. RTD takes a risky trip to expose their world of violence and drugs.

3. Salam Alaikum Sweden

Sweden has a long history of welcoming refugees from military conflicts all around the world. The current refugee crisis is no exception. However, its scale is unprecedented and the country is still dealing with previous migration issues. The situation is aggravated by crimes being committed by a minority of war refugees who now live in Sweden. Such crimes are often underreported, and that has undermined Swedish trust in government policy and led to a growing sense of unease about immigrants in general. While following up on the consequences of the European migrant crisis for refugees and their Swedish hosts, RTD’s correspondent includes Malmo in her itinerary. The town is famous for its so-called “no-go areas” ridden with gang-related crime. Here locals, both immigrant and longstanding Swedes, open up about the difficult choice between security and hospitality which Sweden is now facing.

Check out even more disturbing and inspiring content about gangs, their victims and those who step in to help them below: