We all love a good documentary don't we? Here are three I watched earlier this year that I haven’t really got around to writing about. Check them out!
First up we have Girl Model, a film that looks at the seedy business of exploited young Russian girls being scouted to work as models in Japan. Having their heads full of dreams of a glamorous life abroad, hundreds of young girls audition – not knowing what really lies in store for them. Of the few that are picked, many never find work, some returning home thousands of dollars in debt to their agencies; some even end up in prostitution or worse.
As upsetting as the subject matter may be, for me the most interesting part of the documentary was the examination of guilt and denial of American model scout Ashley, who continues to perpetuate this awful business despite knowing the truth of it and having experienced how hard it is from her own past (being a former teen model herself). She casually addresses the camera about the overall process but it’s in the little moments that you start to see the cracks (such as seeing her potter about alone in her expensive yet bare house or staring at secretly snapped photographs), looking like she is going to break down at any moment.
Another shocking documentary is the bonkers yet utterly true story of The Imposter, concerning the story of a missing young boy from Texas who turns up years later in another country. …Except it’s not really him but French con artist Frederic Bourdin who not only manages to get away with his pretence – but ends up being accepted by the whole family and going back to America to live with them. And that's not even half the story...
Narrated by the Bourdin himself (at times with almost gleeful relish) and interspersed with dramatic reenactments, this film is fascinating on so many levels – as the filmmakers gradually peel back the layers of information revealing more intrigue and shocking truths as the film goes on. Not only is the actual story itself so compelling, but the way in which it is told is simply masterful. A must watch.
Finally for fans of videogames, Indie Game: The Movie - which follows the making of three independent games (Braid, Fez and Super Meat Boy) and the lives of the developers behind them. Forget about your multi-million dollar games companies – this film follows literally four people and the financial risks, toil and sacrifices they make in order to bring their vision to life. Concerned less with the technical aspect of game development and more on the people involved, the film's focus is intimate and relatable.
Sure, the self-importance of Jonathan Blow and obsessive nature of Phil Fish will grate on some, but the real heart of the movie lies with Ed and Tommy of Team Meat, which really gets you rooting for their success. It’s heartfelt, affecting and uplifting stuff – and will resonate with anyone who has been through the process of creating something. Even if you have no interest in videogames whatsoever, the humanity of the documentary will surely strike a chord with you. Recommended.
So all in all, three interesting documentaries. If I had to put them in order of recommendation I would say: The Imposter as a definite must see, Indie Game as a recommended watch and then Girl Model only for the curious.
Until next time!
11 Mar 2013