the truth lies in falsehood
when you're in the middle of it it isn’t a story at all, only confusion… only afterwards it becomes one… when you're telling it.
Margaret Atwood (1996) Alias Grace, McClelland & Stewart.
Stories We Tell (2012) dir. Sarah Poley, Canada.
ross investigates a film depicting what he believes to be his great-grandfather's life-story; hollywood production becomes home movie. the deeper he goes the more these two become increasingly interchangeable.
Bright Leaves (2004) dir. Ross McElwee, USA.
the further back you go on my mother's side the richer it gets, palaces in cairo, etc. it all evaporated by the time it was my turn; i’m not bitter.
okuzaki confronts fellow veteran of the new guinean campaign (infamous for famines and cannibalization), demanding a verbal confession. the answer he most often gets: “i don’t know”.
The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On (1987) dir. Kazuo Hara, Japan.
i tried. for context: my grandparents were brought up during the civil war in greece. her dad was a communist shot by fascists. his dad was shot by the communists.
anwar watches himself boisterously describing the ways he executed hundreds of men. as the clip plays through, something inside him cracks — a defense mechanism fills the void.
The Act of Killing (2012) dir. Joshua Oppenheimer, Indonesia.
a fictitious scene is set up: jewel, close friend of timothy, is given his watch. the scene comes to an end, (herzog) keeps rolling; a glimpse of sorrow bursts out.
Grizzly Man (2005) dir. Werner Herzog, USA.
sabzian pretends to be a famous director, fooling a family into letting them into their home; he will make a film with them. when he's discovered, he's taken to court.
Close-Up (1990) dir. Abbas Kiarostami, Iran.
my grandmother now lives with deepa. she helps her out around the house, cooks, cleans and bathes her. i’d say they're close.
i just really like this one.
Gates of Heaven (2020) dir. Errol Morris, USA.
i turn on the tape recorder so as not to miss this transformation of life - everyday life - into literature...1 what happens to our lives when they’re recorded? lately i’ve gorged myself on documentaries; noticed a divide in the medium. some prefer to be a fly-on-the-wall, seamingly uninvolved. i’m not sure that’s possible; the camera changes things, we are aware of its presence. we want to look a certain way, say things we want/have to hear. strictly factual accounts are hard to get. what would we do with them anyway, does truth lie in the facts? perhaps the only route to truth is by way of falsehood.2
1. Svetlana Alexievich (2019) Second-Hand Time, Fitzcarraldo.
2. Errol Morris (2020) “Who Really Killed Jimmy Hoffa?”, Air Mail.