Over two days, my "Movies To See" list is unspooling on The Dissolve. Here's your chance to check them off,…
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…
It's been some time since I've seen a film that I immediately want to watch again, placing this somewhere on my little list somewhere between The Player and Mrs. Parker & the Vicious Circle. I think, however, that I'll have to apply that alleged rule about eating before swimming: I'll need some digestion time before diving in again.
A deep personal journey walked by the director with the help of her father and her siblings in order to unveil the story of her mother. Each person contributes to the story with their own point of view, which makes this documentary quite interesting, and emotional nonetheless.
Filmmaker Sarah Polley's documentary explores the nature of memory and truth by interviewing family & friends about her own family history.
Intercutting between the storytelling by the various participants, sometime contradicting each other, sometimes giving a different perspective the film becomes a very personal odyssey into her past.
Interestingly structured (particularly with some revelations toward the end of the film about how the documentary itself has been constructed) this makes for compelling viewing. Sarah's family is no more crazy or screwed up that anyone else's but the exploration of the character of her mother (who died when Sarah was 11) is the central subject around which a lot of other issues, secrets and misapprehensions revolve.
Not an earth shattering expose - but an intriguing insight into one particular Canadian family.
This is a story of a family and their mother, whose personal life affected everyone around her. She is the mother of the director, Sarah Colley, an acclaimed Canadian filmmaker who decided to dive into her own past, her family's history in order to create one of the most breathtaking and deepest documentaries of our times.
"Stories We Tell" talks about Diane, a young ambitious actress whose energy and vitality is contagious to the people who know her. One day, at a play she was participating, she met a young guy named Micheal who was meant to be her husband. With him she lived a happy shared life, along with their four children - two from a previous failed marriage…
So extremely mundane it almost transcends into something universal, but really doesn't. Just boring, long, drawn out mundane infidelities and the petty consequences thereof.
Highly personal, very well constructed documentary, but one I could not connect with as much as I would have liked to.
An absorbing, deeply personal look at the art of storytelling through the prism of one irresistibly compelling family.
It's interesting how feature films tend to be made within the bounds of the rules of film in a time where documentaries are more creative with pushing form and content than ever. Stories we tell is a documentary of actress Sarah Polley who tries to uncover the history of her family by interviewing members of her family as well as friends. She doesn't only show the end result, but also the setting up and the interviewees just before and after their actual interview. This then is a documentary not necessarily about the story, but about how stories are told and also about who tells them. It's quite a fascinating watch, even if it wasn't this completely new view on documentaries and history.
I still irrationally love this film.
- Beyond the Hills
- Spring Breakers
- Upstream Color
- Stories We Tell
- 20 Fingers
- Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
- Almayer's Folly
- A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
- Border Radio
A list of films directed by women, in alphabetical order by director. The notes show the director's country, name and…
- Before Midnight
- Only God Forgives
- 12 Years a Slave
- The Rover