Fake It So Real ★★★★

Bruises and scars
Visible to the camera.
But behind the stage
Friendships that bound
And dreams that inspire.

Compared to Kati, more conventional in both approach (ie. there’s more exposition and people explaining backstory etc to the camera) as well as subject matter (ie. closer territory to things like Undefeated and Murderball), but Greene smartly transcends any of the trappings because like Kati, he enters this world without a thesis. This makes him so much better at capturing Southern life than any other filmmaker I know working today: Because there is no context to the film outside the one the various wrestlers create, there is no talk of politics, no sense of extreme racism or religious fervor. There is perhaps homophobia, but it feels so specific to the fact of what these guys do and the performance they’re trying to make, that you don’t feel offended by it. The film smartly builds its numerous characters, giving each a personality but not necessarily an arc, which gives it more of a sense of what daily life is like for these guys instead of a story, and the general malaise of having dreams that will perhaps never be accomplished. The intimacy of the camera is once again key — Robert and Sean Price Williams opt for more close-ups than anything else, and so when you see those guys screaming during the wrestling matches, you feel it. Also, had a genuine tear on my face when Gabriel makes his entrance. More TK in podcast with Greene.