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Movie reviews: Bubble and Stories We Tell

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Back in the true art house realm here with Bubble, a documentary-like drama, and Stories We Tell, a partly dramatized documentary.

Bubble poster*** Bubble (January 2006) – Rental

Directed by Steven Soderbergh. Martha and Kyle are coworkers at a doll factory whose relationship is disrupted by a new arrival at the factory, Rose.

She says: Except for the big-name director, movies don’t get much smaller than this. (I would never even have heard of this one if not for Roger Ebert highlighting it recently.) Its stars are not actors, but locals. The story was plotted, but the dialogue was not scripted. Its a mere 73 minutes long.

These people lead very simple lives, yet its weirdly fascinating, as we just don’t see people like this in movies. They look and talk like real people. They aren’t dramatically poor (not homeless, not starving), but basically have no money, no real prospects. Their job of assembling dolls makes for some really odd images, of doll parts molded, assembled, decorated.

Martha and Kyle have a comfortable, non-romantic relationship. Rose disrupts that, creating a strange triangle. A murder occurs. Who and how that happens is the central mystery of the film.

He says: This one moves at the pace of real life… I don’t really know what to make of it.

Stories We Tell*** Stories We Tell (November 2012) – Theatre

Documentary by Sarah Polley. She explores the family secret that the man who raised her is not her biological father.

She says: Though it lags a bit toward the end, there are a surprising number of twists in this documentary about Sarah Polley’s decision to explore the truth about her parentage. She does this by interviewing everyone in her family, along with family friends, while interspersing old family footage along with dramatic re-creations of certain key events (and it was occasionally difficult to tell which was what).

It’s not all that unusual, apparently, that men end up raising children they think are their own, but aren’t. But it really struck how differently an artistic family and circle such as the Polley’s react to this, with everyone almost tripping over themselves to be the ones who get to own the narrative. And hence, Stories We Tell becomes Polley’s framework.

A bit pretentious, I guess, but as I said, mostly engaging.

He says: Well, there were parts when I was pretty bored. But it could have been worse. I’m still not totally sure what was acting and what were actual inteviews, though.

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