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218. "Camera falls from airplane and lands in pig pen-MUST WATCH END!!"
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…
Ruminates on not only how people perceive truth, but how character is morphed and altered by how others perceive them. Can you ever truly know someone if you all know is what they project outward, as well as what others see them as? Is who a person is simply defined by how they’re viewed by others? Polley interlocks different versions of the same story to create a dynamic where multiple people recall moments differently, or discern what someone was thinking in completely opposite ways. It’s an interesting commentary not only on the subjects of the story but also the interviewees, since their version of the story is inherently shaped by who they are. Why do some perceive a certain memory…
Near-auteur level work in what is perhaps her magnum opus, Polley showcases her ambitious talent and knowledgeable experience in this heartfelt masterpiece of storytelling. 'Notable Nin9 / 10'
Visuals (mise-en-scene, camerawork, colour): 4/5
Sound (score, soundtrack, creation, mixing): 3/5
Acting (personal signature, believability): 4/5
Writing (plot, themes, literary techniques, script): 5/5
Direction (special effects, editing, form, style): 5/5
Me parece un ejercicio muy brillante de auto exploración e introspección que revela al mismo tiempo la naturaleza del cine a la hora de contar historias. También es una original y muy personal reflexión sobre la memoria.
Sarah Polley ha sido muy hábil escribiendo y dirigiendo esta película. Y era difícil.
Poor Harry. How we value our own stories, our own love-experiences, to such a degree that those we treasure end up reduced into two dimensional constructs.
Oh, the harmony of memory discrepancies. Oh, the power of Mother and Father.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
July 2016 Scavenger Hunt | Film #1, Task #1
A movie from your country.
Stories We Tell is an incredibly poignant and emotional group diary. Sarah Polley beautifully layers each storytellers' personal account on top of one another in an attempt to assemble her mother's well-hid secret. Through candid interviews, we begin to question the validity of one storyteller's account to the next. Despite their truthful narratives, it's recognized that how we perceive the events around us is ultimately a singular perspective. Sarah is proportional in her storytelling, lending equal time with each witness of the event the film seeks to explore. The film contains many themes - memories, secrets, loss, love, and identity, all of which guide the audience to an undefined truth. Stories We Tell is a film I will soon not forgot.
“It’s highly unusual for a public figure to expose so much of themselves & their immediate loved ones in this honest of a way and that vulnerability alone makes Stories We Tell a memorable experience. On the other hand, the story at the heart of the documentary isn’t quite as fulfilling & engaging to outsiders as it is to the people who lived it and the film has a tendency to over-explain its own intent instead of simply allowing the story to unfold.”
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