I went to see Marshall Curry’s new documentary, RACING DREAMS, last week. It’s an engaging, intimate film that follows three adolescent kids through one year of Extreme Go-Kart Racing competitions – a sort of warm-up little league to the big time of NASCAR. Annabeth Barnes of Hiddenite, North Carolina, pictured below with her dad, is one of the film’s charming stars. In one pivotal year, we witness her move away from childhood and toward the precipice of adulthood, a subtle and moving transformation.
The two other protagonists, Josh and Brandon, have significant dramatic arcs as well. As I was watching, I couldn’t help but think about the old reliable adage about doc versus fiction storytelling: while fiction film must strive for an organic, complicated reality that allows the audience to ‘buy’ the authenticity of the imagined world, the documentary must strive for an heightened, almost simplified sense of the purely dramatic. Archetypes embraced!