We'll close 2008 with a look back on 15 of our favorite posts from the home team. It's been a very exciting year as far as things go with this little corner of the web. We've more than doubled our traffic from 2007 - and, of particular resonance to me, during those stretches when we were off making a new film, our readers seemed to return as soon as regular posting picked up again. That's no small thing.
Further, we've been constantly touched by the kind words of both colleagues and strangers during this year. If one can claim a goal to these writings - beyond a personal desire to promote a vision of theatrical nonfiction as a viable and growing art form - it's that I hope that we provoke conversation. And we hope that in some small way we present thoughts and ideas that are compelling, interesting, challenging, crazy or comforting.
We'll be back up and at it soon in the new year, with a look back at our favorite films, the most important issues and developments in nonfiction as well as our coverage of the Cinema Eye Honors Shortlist, due to be announced next week. Then we will be off and running at Sundance.
But first, a look back at what we did here, this year:
"Where once this debate was seemingly contained between the two dominant schools of nonfiction in the mid-1900s – direct cinema (where invisibility is the goal and the ideal) and cinema verite (which implicitly recognizes that the camera’s very presence alters the reality), over the past few years we have seen a Nonfiction New Wave that rejects dogmatic strictures of form and that is, ironically, a return to the genre’s roots.
This Nonfiction New Wave not only embraces every kind of stylistic tool (and is especially fond of animation and graphic design), it also seems not to fear that space between truth and fiction, between documentary and narrative. And it was on full display at this week’s Sundance Film Festival, which, over the past several years (as seen in 2007's MANDA BALA (SEND A BULLET), ZOO and CHICAGO 10, among others) has been a leading proponent of the movement."
"This information is conveyed through a variety of highly stylized interviews and recreations of Dalia's meeting and courtship. These recreations reach a fever pitch when the film introduces a singer/songwriter who has composed a maudlin ballad lionizing Dalia's story and the courtship between Dalia and her Christian beau is seen in music video form. Even as someone who is a strong proponent of stylization and construction, it felt like the movie was going off the rails - and we're only 20 minutes in.
But to Broinowski's deep credit, this sense of spinning out of control is all part of the plan, because it turns out that Khouri may have made the whole story up. It may be that Khouri is one of the greatest - or most desperate - con women alive. And for the next hour plus, Broinowski pulls back layer after layer of one of the most intriguing and fascinating films I've seen in some time. Who is telling the truth? Who is lying? What part of the filmmaking is completely fabricated? Is the backdrop behind Khouri even real? Broinowski weaves a technically brilliant storyline that includes her own deft and pinpoint interview skills."