A Plea From a Parasite
Over the past few years I have become an increasingly parasitic movie watcher. When I first moved to New York in 2000, I watched sometimes four movies a day: classics, experimental films and docs, on big screens and small, often rejecting any other form of entertainment. My future wife was always wanting to hang out, but I was too busy scurrying away to catch the next movie. I was in grad school and new to a place where you could actually see great films, so it was my duty to see them. All of them.
I thought the condition was terminable. But it turns out you can give up such mania. These days my movie diet consists of must-sees (a new Claire Denis movie, for instance), kids movies with my kids (I cried a lot in Toy Story 3) and documentaries that I watch because a) I love docs and b) because I make docs and I have a competitive and artistic need to see what others are doing.
Sometimes I can relax a bit and enjoy a documentary on its own terms and use my hard-won cultivation of movie language to have a reasonable idea of whether it's a good film or not. But when I'm in the middle of any part of making a movie, all sense of viewership is lost. I watch to help make. It's unfair and limiting, but I don't aspire to be a film critic or a collector of movies (physical or mental). I don't feel bad when I haven't seen something. I don't quote movies. I want to make them, that's all.
So now I'm starting to edit my third feature doc, FAKE IT SO REAL. The film is about a group of indie pro wrestlers who work for no money and little fanfare in Lincolnton, North Carolina. We follow them through a twisting and turning week leading up to a big show. So what do I watch to help me get going?
Here's where I need help. What should I be watching? I don't want to watch just sports docs, necessarily. The aesthetic that I'm going for is a stripped-down, almost-verité kind of thing with strong story elements and some adventurous editing. Here's what I have to watch so far:
BECAUSE WE WERE BORN
THE MAN WHO SKIED DOWN EVEREST
MAMACHAS DEL RING
DYING AT GRACE
BROKEN NOSES (haven't seen it since college)
LA LUTTE (a favorite)
PARADISE ALLEY (not a doc, but a must)
SOLDIERS OF MUSIC
Any suggestions would be much appreciated. I've seen a lot already, but don't worry about that. Tweet them at me at twitter.com/prewarcinema or tell me on Facebook or just over email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for your help.
at 11:25 AM