Not on Letterboxd: Peter Amstrong's "Global Report" and Phil Agland's China: Beyond the Clouds
Stories We Tell
Filmmaker Sarah Polley interviews members of her family as they look back on decades-old events.
This movie was even more beautifully sad than watching a guy on the subway ride home eat an entire Papa John's pizza by himself.
And let me tell you my friends, that was a mighty sad sight (he was using the dipping sauce -- or at least that's how I remember it).
Stories We Tell is a moving and incredibly candid family portrait as filmmaker, Sarah Polley, explores the mysteries surrounding her mother. Beginning as a rather traditional biography of her late mother it gradually transforms into a far richer documentary that touches on identity, memory, the fallibility of truth and the power of storytelling to create a deeply personal yet universal work.
As with all the best stories it is better to experience Stories We Tell with as little prior knowledge as possible. Yet whilst the film’s narrative takes a series of surprising diversions and features several revelations there is something refreshingly ordinary about this personal discovery. One of the contributors even questions why other people would be interested in their…
The only way this movie could have been more made for me is if the opening credits included a dedication that read: "This movie was made for Adam Kempenaar."
Full discussion available here.
A few notes that didn't make it into the conversation:
- A perfectly Polley-esque touch that I failed to mention about my autobiographical short film... My wife, then girlfriend, played the younger version of my mom.
- A key to the success of this film, I believe, is Polley's obvious fairness, generosity of spirit and lack of guile. Everything we see is a capital-C construct with her as the puppet master, but there's no overriding sense of calculation that might come through with other directors. It's all…
Completely riveted by Polley's reconstruction of a family secret from multiple angles until the degree to which she was aestheticizing her life became clear. At a certain point, she comes out and tells us the themes of the documentary—in that respect, the last 20 minutes of the film are like the psychiatrist scene in Psycho.
"i swatted my fly!"
yes. unremarkable by nature, remarkable by design. Kiarostami 101, but indelibly articulates schism of being / remembering.
works in spite of itself, at times. but then again, don't we all?
also, it may not really count, but Polley includes what i'd like to consider to be the greatest credits stinger of all time.
2014 is turning out to be a rather meagre year for music in my opinion, but one of the albums that does stand out thus far is How To Dress Well’s ‘What Is This Heart?’ One of my favourite songs on the album ends with the following utterance: “A truth like that that opens up, kind of begets other truths, and when you discover truths like that, how you think about truths within that are concealed, it does sort of make you alter the way that you look within, and that opens up.” Little did I know that this quote was taking from ‘Stories We Tell’, a 2012 autobiographical documentary in which director Sarah Polley interviews her father(s), sisters, brother…
That was actually much better than it looks
+ Great work from Sarah Polley to handle such a personal subject
+ Nice angle used to avoid making it "pretentious"
+ The old guys (Michael and Harry) are quite fascinating to listen to
- Some aspects of the documentary didn't seem really necessary for a general audience
- The acceptance of the "affair" by most people is a bit disturbing, would have expected to see more outrage (camera shyness?)
Sarah Polley's astounding documentary about her complicated family history and the enigma that was her mother is a masterpiece of structure and POV, somehow managing to be absolutely calculating without ever letting the audience see the strings.
Polley continually shifts her subject without jarring, eventually settling back onto the one she started with: a woman who is gone, a woman who is missed, and a woman who only exists in the memories of those who knew her. And so they talk, remembering a ghost by constructing a narrative.
It's utterly heartbreaking without once feeling cheap.
Overall Enjoyment 9/10
Cara, que filme bonito. A história mais absurda: uma moça, fazendo um documentário sobre a mãe, descobre que o pai dela na verdade é outro. Sim, a sua mãe teve amantes. Mas o desenrolar de tudo mostra como, mesmo na adversidade, tudo pode dar certo e terminar bem.
Loved this movie. Really touching. Nice reflexion on memories and our need to bring people we love back to life.
Oh, the world.
The actress and filmmaker Sarah Polley found out when she was in her early twenties that the father who raised her was not her biological father. "Stories We Tell" is her reconstruction of the circumstances that led her mother (who died when Polley was 11) to have an affair and child with another man. She interviews both of the fathers as well as her siblings and other key players in her mother's life in an attempt to piece together a portrait of the woman, and she creates fake home video footage to supplement the action. In what amounts to a small twist (at least it was for me), we see about mid-way through the movie Polley directing this fake footage,…
This film was magic in a way that destroyed me. It was utterly beautiful, transfixing, and real - in all of the true spectrum that our reality is true to us, and how still that reality can be infused with doubt.
The first 1012 films are from The 1,000 Greatest Films list, and maintain the original order. The films that follow…
movies directed by women,
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