Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Real Life, Real Truth

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Real Life, Real Truth

Article excerpt

DOCUMENTARY FILMS often do a better job delivering emotional truth than typical multiplex fare. Having just spent a long weekend at North Carolina's Full Frame Festival, I'm pleased to say that coming your way over the next few months is a crop of nonfiction films that have the potential to both show us the world and change it.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Some deal with troubling political realities: Sun Come Up is the climate crisis story of Carteret Islanders looking for a new home because theirs is sinking. Promised Land shows the struggle for land reclamation in post-apartheid South Africa.

Others are biographical tales that grant insight to extraordinary lives. Genius Within examines the inner turmoil of the spectacular classical pianist Glenn Gould, an artist whose public pleasure comes at the cost of personal trauma. The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers offers privileged access to a man who, echoing Thoreau, "cast his whole vote," dedicating a life of integrity to resisting injustice and state oppression. Garbo: The Spy is a thrilling piece of reconstructed war history, revealing the role played by a (nearly) nonviolent trickster in wrong-footing Nazism.

And Everything is Going Fine, is Steven Soderbergh's masterfully organized vision of the late actor and monologist Spalding Gray telling and retelling the story of his life. It reminds the audience of the transcendent moments that together evoke eternity: a meal with friends, a walk with an elderly parent, a silly mistake, dancing with the family as Chumbawamba's anthem to extraordinary ordinariness, "Tubthumping," plays. …

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