Director: Sarah Polley // Distributor: Artificial Eye // Release Date: June 28th // Starring: Michael Polley, Sarah Polley, Pixie Bigelow, Joanna Polley, John Buchan, Geoffrey Bowes and Susy Buchan.
The multitalented Sarah Polley seeks answers to some very personal questions in this touching documentary. Through a series of jovial interviews, Polley explores the art of storytelling and the impact one particular tale has had on her own life.
Stories We Tell could so easily have been a trifling vanity project. That it isn’t stands not only as a testament to Polley’s talent, but also her inherent likability and aversion to vanity. Behind the mixing desk at a recording studio, Polley coaches her father Michael as he reads out his own account of the many questions left behind in the wake of his wife’s death. She sits there exposed; no Hollywood lighting, no flaw-devouring make-up. The same could be said of her family, who make up the bulk of her interviewees. Few of them are formally introduced and minimal background information is given. Characters instead develop as the film progresses, granting the documentary a swift pace that takes you straight to the heart of their family dynamic.
If there’s one thing I can take from the Film Distributors’ Association showcase I attended this week, it is that I am a man of simple pleasures. Even before the suits from Twentieth Century Fox insisted on confiscating our phones for fear of snatches of coming-of-age comedy The Way, Way Back being plastered across social networking sites (Oh, how I longed to wield an innocent Nokia 3210 in their faces…), I was in my element. There were contracts, free coffee and a lanyard with my name on it. It was about as close to Heaven as I ever plan to get.
Now, perhaps my favourite thing about writing, as opposed to merely ‘talking’, is that you cannot see my face. This isn’t to say I consider myself ugly (after all, some people say I remind them of a young Glenn Close), more to point out that I am a terrible liar. I am also legally obligated to wait until each film’s respective embargo expires before I can publish my thoughts, and if I was to be talking to you in person, my face would simply give everything away. However, I can reveal that the line-up (picture after the jump) certainly gave me a lot to think about, and I must thank IdeasTap profusely for granting me this wonderful opportunity.