KIOS at the Movies: 2023 True / False Film Fest Part 2
Today, on part two of my coverage of the True / False Film Fest there are three films I want to highlight:
When director Kit Vincent is diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, he begins documenting his process. This powerful and moving film is an honest and deeply personal exploration of what it means to be mortal. Through his filmmaking, Kit grapples with existential issues and the inevitability of death.
The film shows how art can be a means not only for leaving a legacy behind, but also for coming to terms with one's own mortality. At times, Kit's filmmaking seems to be a way of distracting himself from the reality of his situation, but ultimately it becomes a way for him to confront and process his emotions. The audience is taken on a journey through Kit's life, witnessing his struggles and the pain and change of those affected around him.
The film is a powerful exploration of the transience of life and the importance of cherishing every moment. The narrative underscores the fleeting nature of existence, and reminds us to treasure each moment with our loved ones.
Red Herring was one of the festival's biggest hits. It is a heartbreaking yet life-affirming documentary that exemplifies personal documentary filmmaking. Though this genre can sometimes feel self-indulgent, this film acknowledges and transcends that stereotype. It can be challenging to watch at times, and I certainly felt tears welling up while viewing it.
THE TASTE OF MANGO:
Next up is another very personal documentary. In "The Taste of Mango," director Chloe Abrahams focuses her camera on her mother and grandmother, and the deep family secrets that she seeks to unravel. However, they brush her off her prodding, or try to ignore her.
Generations of emotional pain, sometimes from outside forces and sometimes inflicted on each other, have culminated into a very difficult family dynamic. But there is also a bond that can only exist between family members.
This film explores these topics in a tender, beautiful and painfully poetic way. At times, it feels like a dream, something that transcends the moment. There are images that have lingered with me since watching it, even if the details of the story fade. In that sense, it's a lot like a memory.
In the almost three-hour-long epic "Our Body", French director Claire Simon documents a public Parisian hospital, following the doctors and their relationships with various women who are patients dealing with pregnancies, illnesses, gender-affirming care, abortions, breast cancer, and more.
The film reminded me of the best of Frederick Wiseman, where we get an exhaustive view of an institution and how it works, but there is a poetic element in the film that is incredibly subtle. The focus on the humanity of the patients and the staff, along with the subtle interruptions and quick contemplative movements that Simon captures with her camera, make the film an insightful, curious, and caring experience.
In a world where women's needs are often put second, Claire Simon makes their struggles the star, along with their bodies. The literal vessels that our consciousness exists in are often full of shame, and in society, we often don’t discuss them. However, this film is lazer focused on it. I feel like this film transcends its form and becomes something like a mirror. Yet, this film is also very honest and vulnerable for the filmmaker herself. There is a lot of her in this film; we feel her behind the camera, and then she becomes a part of the film herself.
"Our Body" is a masterclass in verite or observational filmmaking, but it's also much more. I loved this film, so be on the lookout for it.