Friday, November 3, 2023

SUBJECT (2023) starts today

This is a look at how the subjects of documentaries viewed the experience of being front and center. The film is a mix of talking heads (filmmakers, critics and others) and the subjects of films such as The Staircase, Hoop Dreams, Capturing the Friedmans, The Wolfpack, and The Square. It’s a look at the pros and cons of being front and center in a movie.

This film was a trip. As someone who sees way too many documentaries it was great to get a peak behind the veil of what it’s like to be in a documentary. As the film makes clear it has it’s upside and it’s down side.  

For me the most interesting part of the film is the discussions of how the filmmakers alter reality, not always for the better. For example the mother of Jesse Friedman bemoans how she was portrayed in Capturing the Friedmans. She hates that she comes off as a complainer. Other subjects discuss things that the filmmakers got wrong.

If there is anything wrong with the film it’s that the film touches on a lot of films in clips that are never dealt with. Watching the film’s steady stream of clips I kept seeing things that I would love to have seen more on, such as the subjects of other documentaries  or  to see follow ups of complaints from films not mentioned that they got things wrong. There is a lot more to this story than what we see.

In the long run that’s just a quibble, and the truth is if you love documentaries then you need to see this film.

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