Doc Talk is a bi-weekly column about documentaries and the issues related to non-fiction cinema.
Typically I like to tackle important issues and themes concerning documentaries, such as the ethical concern with filmmakers getting too close to their subjects and the question of whether or not non-fiction works should be excused from the MPAA. But given that tomorrow is Thanksgiving I figure I'll give you something a little more easily digestible this week. And nothing goes down easier than a list.
Thanksgiving is, more than anything, a time for family, and more and more documentaries are presenting us with interesting families as subjects. Why not spend your holiday watching one of them as a reminder of how minor your own family's dysfunctions truly are? Actually not all the families I list are necessarily dysfuntional, but I think all have some sort of heavy drama, otherwise they wouldn't have a film crew following them around.
I've tried to include only titles currently available to rent or see in the theater, even if that theater is in a museum or classroom. But I hope you one day have an opportunity to also visit with the excluded clans of new films 'Kati with an I,''The Arbor' and 'Circo,' and other as yet undistributed works. Also, I'm only qualifying families of more than two people documented, so unfortunately no Beales of 'Grey Gardens,'and qualifying only films that center primarily on one family, so unfortunately no Gateses and Agees of'Hoop Dreams.'
In no real particular order (who can rank families?):