Are you craving to counteract all that holiday cheer with some good old-fashioned documentary depression? Never fear, two hard-hitters are still in theatres and soon to be on-demand or in your queue. I saw them both in recent weeks and while both hold their end of the bargain to keep up the doc-is-downer reputation, one is a far more complex experience than the other. (By the way, doc had a good year – with CATFISH, EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, I’M STILL HERE – filmmakers soon may be able to ditch the downer syndrome and engage nonfiction for what it should be – more diverse in approach, content, tone and negotiation with ‘truth.’) I’m speaking here of INSIDE JOB (Charles Ferguson) and WAITING FOR SUPERMAN (Davis Guggenheim).
WAITING FOR SUPERMAN
President Obama with some of the children from WAITING FOR SUPERMAN After winning the Audience Award for Best Documentary at Sundance, WAITING FOR SUPERMAN went onto teach, excite and generally rile up audiences everywhere with its take on the depressing state of US public education. Directed by Davis Guggenheim, who won an Oscar in 2006…
Until Thursday, Sundance Film Festival watchers from afar could have been forgiven for concluding that the increased emphasis on art, rather than on commerce, in the festival offerings this year may have worked all too well. Many of the films making their debuts were wowing critics, but the money people appeared to be unimpressed, or at least not impressed enough to open their wallets. Or at least opening them too often.