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Take Care of Each Other: Paste at the 2017 True/False Film Fest

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Take Care of Each Other: <i>Paste</i> at the 2017 True/False Film Fest

Different film festivals have their selling points, chief of which is often their ability to be launching pads for highly anticipated movies. That’s true of Cannes or Sundance or Venice, but a smartly curated local festival like True/False Film Fest can offer something just as valuable: the sense of community. Such a touchy-feely phrase may cause some to roll their eyes, but in its 14th year (and my fifth attending), True/False continues to deliver on that promise, remaining one of the homiest festivals on the yearly calendar.

That sense of community extends beyond the inviting crowds, comforting unpretentiousness of the location (Columbia, Missouri, also home to the University of Missouri) and the no-fuss style of the festival’s organizers Paul Sturtz and David Wilson, alongside programmers Chris Boeckmann, Abby Sun and others. This year, community was the connective tissue for many of the 35 or so feature documentaries shown during the four-day event. Again and again, filmmakers brought us into cloistered worlds—some as intimate as a romantic relationship between a man and a woman, others as vast as the legendary fan base for an iconic rock band—to study how they operate. Not all communities are created equal, but if this edition of True/False had an unofficial theme, it’s that, ultimately, audiences seek out community because we’ve all learned that, in a world growing more unpredictable and upsetting, community is one of the few ways that we can truly take care of each other.

Let’s get this out of the way first: I’m an invited guest of the festival, with my flight and lodging compensated. But then let me also add that I’d be saying glowing things about this festival even if I weren’t going on someone else’s dime. Besides cherry-picking from the globe’s best festivals’ lineups to create one-stop-shopping for world-class documentaries, True/False has premiered superb new nonfiction films the last couple years, not to mention screening one of last year’s finest movies, I Am Not Your Negro. The programming runs from the adventurous/experimental to the traditional/uplifting, so no audience bloc feels left out.

Whether by design or accident, True/False this year leaned in to the most obvious tension within its Midwestern community, that of the racial strife between whites and African Americans. Last year’s festival began the conversation, which was inevitable in the wake of the Ferguson shooting just a few hours away and, more close to home, the University of Missouri protests organized by the group Concerned Student 1950. At the 2016 festival, documentaries such as The Prison in Twelve Landscapes and Concerned Student 1950 directly addressed those tensions, and there was electricity buzzing through the screenings. This year’s edition was even more pronounced in its depiction of the ongoing Black Lives Matter struggle, the films playing to the festival’s predominantly white audience.

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Some of these documentaries seemed to speak to one another. Director Sabaah Folayan’s bruised, Ferguson-themed Whose Streets? presents the madness and rage of Michael Brown’s murder with its fallout, in real-time immediacy, chronicling the protests but also some of the protestors so that we get a sense of their daily lives. By contrast, filmmaker Peter Nicks highlights a complementary community in The Force, which looks at the years-long scandal that roiled the Oakland police department over its use of excessive force, among other indiscretions.

What’s remarkable about The Force is how we meet people, particularly new chief Sean Whent, who want to transform a toxic culture, making Oakland’s a police department accountable to its citizenry. In other words, it’s a documentary unwittingly trying to address the ills affecting the subjects of Whose Streets?, despite the two worlds being separated by thousands of miles. But The Force is clear-eyed about the limits of bringing about change in a corrupt, entrenched bureaucracy. As we see Whent get laid low by his own scandals, we see why it’s so hard for minorities to feel like they can trust those assigned to protect them. Two communities pull in opposite directions, perhaps permanently.

Other documentaries focused on black families—some bonded by blood, others brought together through a shared passion. Quest, the recipient of this year’s True/False True Life Fund, which raises money for the documentary’s subjects, introduces us to the Rainey family, a North Philadelphia clan whose seeming ordinariness opens the door to a quietly moving story of resilience. Father Christopher is a record producer who makes albums in his basement studio. The mother, Christine, works at a homeless shelter. Alongside their two kids, one who will face terrible hardship over the course of Quest, the Raineys are followed by first-time documentary filmmaker Jon Olshefski during the span of about 10 years—and, crucially, from the dawn of the Obama administration to the dawn of the Trump era. Without ever pushing the significance, Olshefski, who’s white, illustrates how one African American family’s brushes with crime, poverty and drug addiction in their larger community are indicative of more systemic worries. The Raineys don’t receive a reassuring respite from their troubles by the film’s end, but the family’s determination to keep moving forward—in part because, really, what other choice do they have?—is its own kind of victory.

Then there’s Step, one of the breakout hits at this January’s Sundance. Directed by Amanda Lipitz, who’s white, the film spotlights a Baltimore dance team led by female black teens who, too often, don’t have much in their life outside this afterschool activity. There are encouraging stories of perseverance—one of the young woman who is eyeing to be her class’s valedictorian—but the documentary’s central subject, Blessin, is struggling to graduate high school, the possibility of college starting to feel like a very remote possibility.

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A crowd-pleaser that works the well-worn documentary convention of building toward a big third-act competition, Step may be a bit formulaic, but that also allows Lipitz to sneak in timely messages, chief among them the value of arts education at a time when it’s being threatened by cost-conscious schools. For these women, dance isn’t just a sport but a way of working through issues that hound them elsewhere. Dance becomes a form of self-care, which makes the movie’s big finale almost beside the point: Does winning or losing really mean that much?

Other documentaries tackled different sides of the same issue without realizing it, both from a personal perspective. African American filmmaker Yance Ford’s Strong Island is a paean to his brother William, who was shot dead in 1992 by a white mechanic during an argument. The shooter never faced trial—it was ruled self-defense—and in the ensuing decades Ford and his family have wrestled with the injustice. Strong Island is Ford’s way of working through the pain and anger that still consume him, mixing interviews with direct addresses to the camera. It’s a slightly unfocused work (Can anyone fault Ford for being unable to marshal his grief into a completely organized treatise?) but its rawness is part of its strength.

Rawness is also essential to the appeal of Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?, Travis Wilkerson’s live performance piece combining spoken-word narration with clips of film and music. Wilkerson sits alone on the side of the stage, a laptop on a desk in front of him, as he admits to a shameful family secret: His great-grandfather S.E. Branch, a white man, killed Bill Spann, a black man, in 1946 in Alabama, a crime for which he was never convicted.

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Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? is Wilkerson’s apology, but it’s also an investigation into whiteness in America, which he considers to be a sickness and a scourge. Though sometimes terribly overwrought—despite Wilkerson’s restrained delivery, he can be a little too proud of his self-evisceration—the performance is captivating, not least of which because Wilkerson’s physical presence is dwarfed by the screen behind him, which lays out his family’s racist past visually like a powerful condemnation. At the performance I attended, Yance Ford also was in the building—and was clearly impressed by what he saw. Unconsciously, Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? reaches out to Strong Island, offering an acknowledgement of all the work still needed to be done in a country that can sometimes be so morally ugly.

Imperiled families—and not just the one in Quest—were popular forms of community in the True/False slate, and all kinds were represented. On the more heartwarming side was Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, the deceptively straightforward new film from Hoop Dreams director Steve James. In it, James details the ordeal of the Sungs, who ran the only bank to face federal prosecution in the aftermath of the 2008 financial collapse. What’s even more surprising is that their bank, Abacus Federal Savings, was a tiny, local institution catering to New York City’s Chinatown residents—hardly one of the massive financial corporations that helped crater the world economy.

There’s a happy ending to Abacus’s legal nightmare, but James uses the court case as a means to explore the Sung family, particularly patriarch Thomas Sung, who even in his late 70s still elicits a strong hold over his adult daughters, who help run the bank with him while jockeying to curry his favor. Abacus is a family portrait mixed with current events, and if it’s less ambitious than Hoop Dreams that doesn’t diminish the warmth and subtlety James brings to this look at an anxious, close-knit clan who rally around one another once the government goes after them.

Other families didn’t seem so fortunate. First-time director Anna Zamecka tracks a Polish family falling apart in Communion. With Mom long gone and Dad barely a presence in the home, 14-year-old Ola is forced to take charge, which mostly means caring for her younger, autistic brother Nikodem as he prepares to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion. Like Quest, Communion is a triumph of small, intimate moments, but its impact is even stronger, in part because the family unit portrayed here looks far wobblier.

It would be inaccurate to say that Zamecka’s documentary is full of twists, but despite its slender 77-minute running time, Communion keeps revealing new information about Ola and those around her that deepens our relationship with these individuals. It’s hard to know what will become of these people, but what’s clear is that Ola is the only grounded person in the group—when we finally meet her mother, it’s as disappointing as we feared—and that she’s practically heroic for keeping her household running as smoothly as she does. You leave Communion impressed by Ola but enraged by her circumstance: Who will help this young woman who’s so busy helping others?

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One of the first communities we experience outside of our families is in the classroom. Any of us would be lucky to have grown up in the world of Miss Kiet’s Children, the tough-minded but lovely documentary from filmmakers Petra Lataster-Czisch and Peter Lataster. They train their cameras on a Dutch school where Miss Kiet teaches young children in a small community that’s recently received an influx of Syrian refugees. The filmmaking couple don’t push too hard to insist that these kids, because of their innocence, can accept people of different cultures easier than adults can, but it’s inherent in the often adorable interactions between the classmates. At the same time, though, we see in these children the first inklings of the personality types we’ll come across the rest of our lives—the bossy one, the shy one, the charmer—and the directors’ up-close cameras capture it all with a sense of discovery.

Miss Kiet’s Children also asks interesting questions about how the presence of a camera can potentially disrupt a community. As Lataster-Czisch explained during a post-screening Q&A, the filmmakers set up shop very close to the children, mounting their camera at the kids’ eye level. It produces a remarkable intimacy, reminding viewers what it was like to be little and low to the ground, with the big adult world so high above. Miss Kiet looms over the proceedings both literally and metaphorically, a figure of firm, gentle patience who doesn’t coddle her students but does show them plenty of compassion.

Still, it’s hard not to wonder if any of these children altered their behavior because they knew they were being observed. Lataster mentioned that the children would ask Miss Kiet where he and his wife were on days when they didn’t show up to film, suggesting that they were aware of the filmmakers’ presence. Regardless, Miss Kiet’s Children is a sneakily empathetic look at some kids who have experienced troubling childhoods—and how the normalcy of a classroom can restore some of childhood’s ebullience.

Syria is even more present in The War Show, a despondent documentary put together by Syrian radio host Obaidah Zytoon and Danish director Andreas Dalsgaard. Think of it as a home movie in which a group of young people tries to chronicle their lives through the prism of war and hardships. There’s very little remarkable about Zytoon and her friends, and the film can meander from section to section, as the promise of the Arab Spring gives way to the inevitability of bombed-out buildings and despair. But The War Show is casually, terribly cruel in its offhand mention of how some of these friends are killed over time, one by one, caught in the crossfire of a war that’s dominated their reality. In a sense, the rambling nature of the documentary matches the subjects’ desperate attempt at attaining some sense of routine—they’ve come to rely on each other to stay sane, only to lose those closest to them for the most senseless of reasons.

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A snapshot of a country is also an impulse behind Sompot Chidgasornpongse’s Railway Sleepers, a soothing, meditative journey across Thailand via the nation’s elaborate railway system. Shot over eight years, but meant to feel like one continuous trip from the back of a train all the way to the front, Railway Sleepers spends a little time with all different types of passengers, never giving us much information about any of them.

It’s an act of evocative eavesdropping, not dissimilar to the charming Manakamana, and Chidgasornpongse (making his full-length debut) doesn’t force any narrative or overriding thesis onto his collection of mini-portraits. The result is, to use a terrible pun, transporting, putting the viewer on a voyage that seems to transcend time. The sensation of movement is constant, but so is the notion that life itself is a path forward to some unknown destination, all of us passengers just along for the ride. Near the end of Railway Sleepers, Chidgasornpongse stops to do a traditional interview with one of his subjects, but I confess I was so mesmerized by the film’s overall sweep that I had a tough time focusing on the words. Trains are one of cinema’s most romantic visual motifs—add Railway Sleepers to the canon.

The Grateful Dead  reference trains in one of their most enduring songs, “Casey Jones,” and if that tidbit is about the limit of your knowledge of that group, you’re only slightly less of a fan than I was before I dove into all four hours of Long Strange Trip. Director Amir Bar-Lev has set himself the task of delivering the definitive portrait of this beloved psychedelic group, and as someone who’s always respected the Dead’s legacy without ever feeling any personal connection to it, I can report that it’s a passion project geared to fans who will love every single second.

Divided into chapters and following a traditional rise-then-fall structure, Long Strange Trip is about two communities: the one within the band and the one created by its disciples. Narrated by Dead’s living members, and buttressed by archival interviews from frontman Jerry Garcia, who died in 1995, Long Strange Trip explains persuasively how this San Francisco unit combined musicality with a cockeyed, hedonistic West Coast optimism that was far more hippie-ish than the Stones, Beatles or Beach Boys. But just like the Merry Pranksters, whose rise coincided with the band’s, the Dead had a tough time living up to their peace-and-love ideals when real life began to intervene. Along those lines, Bar-Lev demonstrates how the group’s devoted fans, the Deadheads, were both a salve and a kind of prison for Garcia and the group, the Dead’s original mission calcifying into a visual-and-aural gimmick. Long Strange Trip is an exhausting and exhaustive document, but I can’t say it ever really converted me. Some communities we’ll always be destined to observe from the outside.

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And sometimes, we’re grateful for that fact. Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl, who has moved back and forth from features to documentaries in his career, takes us into the world of big game hunting in Safari. Seidl doesn’t exactly want us to cozy up to the European hunters we see gallivanting across the African plains taking aim at zebras and other animals, but in its measured, distant way, the film daringly tries to normalize these people’s behavior, asking audiences to at least understand the rush these people feel in killing. Seidl achieves this not by amplifying the excitement through fast editing or flashy camera moves. Rather, he offers unadorned sequences of hunting, forcing us to watch the shooter and the animal in the same frame, which has been composed with almost serene calm.

Safari is meant to enrage the viewer—watching well-off weekend tourists celebrating murdering majestic wild animals will do that to you—but the filmmaker doesn’t let us off the hook completely. The documentary’s final segment shows in exacting detail how an animal is skinned and cleaned after it’s been shot. The sequence is graphic and horrifying—we watch a once-living animal get reduced to a pile of meat—but any carnivore can’t help but watch the scene without thinking of the brutality visited upon all sorts of creatures in the name of feeding us. Subtly, Safari reminds us that we’re all complicit in the slaughter of animals, even if most of us never want to mount an elk head on our wall as a trophy.

Deceptive distancing is also wielded in Dina, in which the filmmaking team Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles incorporate a static camera to show us a love story between Dina and Scott, two middle-aged Americans getting ready for their wedding day. The unique wrinkle is that this couple is also autistic—and that, developmentally, Scott doesn’t seem to have advanced beyond adolescence. Dina’s Asperger’s sometimes makes her exasperating—she talks over people and lacks the social cues to moderate her behavior in public—but she’s also fragile because of an emotionally and physically scarring assault she experienced years ago. Plus, she worries that Scott isn’t very demonstrative in his affection, refusing to be intimate with her, even though he swears he loves her. Is this marriage in trouble before it even begins?

Santini and Sickles present Dina and Scott’s world—and the world of their friends, many of whom are also autistic—without adornment, which sometimes creates the impression that Dina is offering these people up for our sneering amusement. But the tableau-style presentation succeeds in embedding us with the film’s subjects, letting viewers see the bond between Dina and Scott that, although sometimes brittle, stubbornly endures. Maybe Scott can’t give her the physical affection Dina requires, but the tenderness he displays is enormously touching, suggesting that these two have constructed a safe space where they can care for one another.

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Not that everybody wants his space to be so safe. One of the three premieres at this year’s True/False was Brimstone & Glory, a celebration of the Mexican city of Tultepec’s San Juan de Dios festival. Director Viktor Jakovleski’s hour-long film isn’t so much concerned about studying the town, its people or the significance of this annual party—it just wants to show us fireworks. Lots and lots of fireworks. More a sensory experience than a structured portrait, Brimstone & Glory contains more primal, enrapturing images than any documentary since Leviathan. Jakovleski’s cameras take you right onto the street as fireworks detonate all around us, often threatening the revelers who happily put themselves in harm’s way to dance among the explosions.

This may be a slight film, but I can’t recall a movie that better demonstrated the thin line between danger and euphoria that’s inherent in such public revelries. Tultepec’s yearly celebration is meant to honor San Juan de Dios, a local hero who famously rescued patients from a burning hospital without getting a mark on him, but the partiers don’t walk away so lucky. (We see people being treated for eye injuries, and some of the event’s organizers have clearly had bad encounters with fireworks by the looks of their mangled hands.) Brimstone & Glory is community as catharsis, and you can’t stop staring in stupefied astonishment.

On the opposite side of the tonal spectrum is Distant Constellation, a muted, dreamlike work-in-progress from director Shevaun Mizrahi centered on a Turkish retirement home. We meet some of the residents—including a survivor of the Armenian genocide and two pranksters who just love riding up and down the elevators—while, outside their walls, an ominously large construction project is ongoing. Does the juxtaposition suggest that “progress” is always threatening the old order? Mizrahi doesn’t nail down specifics, which adds to the movie’s surreal, limbo-ish vibe, but for all its wistful reverie, Distant Constellation remains more a sense of place than anything concrete or insightful about that place. Maybe that’s fitting for a community in which its inhabitants keep on dying—several of the people we meet in the film, we’re informed in the closing credits, are no longer with us.

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Perhaps no film at True/False more powerfully showed how individuals create their own communities—and the reasons why they do—than Lindy Lou, Juror Number 2. French director Florent Vassault rides shotgun as Mississippi native Lindy drives around on a strange expedition. In the mid-1990s, she was part of a jury that sentenced murderer Bobby Wilcher to death—a decision she quickly came to regret, even befriending Wilcher in prison as a way to assuage her guilt. He was executed in 2006, and now she wants to track down all her fellow jury members to see if they, too, feel bad about giving him a death sentence.

Lindy Lou evokes everything from the Maysles’ Salesman to the Dardennes’ Two Days, One Night, movies (whether fictional or not) that drew their drama from the unpredictable reactions of others to our main character’s singular purpose. What Lindy discovers is that, more often than not, her fellow jurors (whom she hasn’t seen in decades) have also wrestled with their decision. These men and women don’t doubt that Wilcher was guilty, but the relatively quick death-sentence verdict—which took them only a few hours to come to—has resonated with them ever since.

For Lindy, these conversations are a way to feel less alone with a choice that has eaten at her, but Vassault also wonders if there’s something else going on. In quiet moments, Lindy confesses on camera that Wilcher began to develop a romantic interest in her while he was in jail, and the spark seems to have permanently stirred something within her. Is it guilt? Shame? Mutual attraction? Lindy Lou isn’t sure, but the tension of that revelation hovers over the proceedings, as we watch this religious, Republican woman try to quell some part of her conscience that won’t let her rest. Maybe if she finds enough jurors who feel like her, that will do the trick.

An unlikely cross-section of humanity also populates Casting JonBenet, which boasts a provocative idea that yields enormous emotional rewards. Filmmaker Kitty Green invited members of the Boulder, Colorado community where JonBenet Ramsey lived to “audition” for a film about her. But in the tradition of Kate Plays Christine or The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear, that’s actually a feint: Green uses the on-camera interviews with these people to talk about Ramsey’s murder and the still-lingering questions about who committed the crime. She’s not interested in their acting abilities—she’s trying to pinpoint the ways that a 21-year-old incident still resonates.

That premise could seem cruel or exploitative, but Casting JonBenet is actually incredibly compassionate. Green wizardly finds connective tissue between all these actors, who have internalized the little girl’s killing, finding parallels in their own lives to this tragedy. High-profile murders like Ramsey’s often provoke gawking, callous media treatment, turning us all into rubberneckers, but Casting JonBenet vigorously works against that tendency. This movie is fascinated by our psychological need to judge other people’s lives, but it’s also deeply mournful, even respectful, of the very human reasons why we do so.

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Judging dominates The Graduation, which takes reality-television’s competition narrative and does something thought-provoking with it. Director Claire Simon takes us inside the corridors of La Fémis, Paris’s elite film school whose pupils have included Louis Malle and Claire Denis. The Graduation outlines how prospective students audition for inclusion, having to go through multiple tests in order to be granted entry.

If you’ve ever applied for anything with high stakes—a prestigious school, a dream job—Simon’s film will very slowly wreck you, precisely because it outlines how maddeningly subjective such determinations are. For much of The Graduation’s running time, we’re watching as advisers debate the comparable merits of the unseen applicants, discussing their portfolios and assessing their creative potential. Later, some applicants engage in oral exams with the advisers, Simon’s camera staying in the room after the prospective student leaves so we can hear the deliberations.

Anyone familiar with competition shows recognizes the format, but The Graduation hints at troubling questions concerning precisely how we determine what makes great art. It’s a question critics engage with all the time, but the documentary argues that, no matter what walk of life we find ourselves in, we’re all being judged and evaluated. (Even La Fémis’ advisers have to defend their positions amongst each other, leading to some of the film’s tensest moments.) Simon doesn’t land on one overarching theory of whether La Fémis is doing a good or bad job in its evaluation process, but The Graduation points to the underlying uncertainty in evaluating art. William Goldman’s deathless observation remains apt: Nobody knows anything.

A very different classroom provides the setting for Stranger in Paradise, a willful provocation in which the less you know going in, the better. This documentary, directed by first-timer Guido Hendrikx, takes place in a small room on a Sicilian island where residents of the Middle East and Africa are trying to gain safe passage to the Netherlands. Standing in their way is a blond, Dutch inquisitor who looks like a sterner version of Daniel Craig—he’s there to find out their backgrounds and explain why it’s unlikely they’ll be allowed into Europe.

Most reviews reveal the meta twists within Hendrikx’s film, but I’m not mentioning them here because going in blind increases one’s appreciation for Stranger in Paradise—at least it did for me. What I can say is that the documentary, like The Graduation, twists reality-show techniques so that they speak to the harshness of real life. The immigrants hoping to make it to the Netherlands are competing with their lives, and the dispassionate inquisitor, though somewhat sympathetic to their plight, stands as a sentry, representing all the xenophobia and suspicion that will prevent their safe passage.

Hendrikx judges his countrymen’s unwillingness to help outsiders, but he also critiques his own movie’s existence, questioning if provocations are sufficient in the face of an ongoing humanitarian crisis. The slow unveiling of Stranger in Paradise’s dramatic devices does nothing to lessen this internal grappling—nor does it diminish the issues at the film’s core.

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My feelings about many of these movies are intertwined with my memory of seeing them sitting next to random, friendly strangers in converted concert spaces and churches in the middle of Columbia. True/False features several quirks that are unique to the festival—the buskers who play before each film, the live documentary game show Gimme Truth! that takes place Saturday night—but it’s that atmosphere of shared experience that’s most prevalent. This was the warmest True/False I’ve attended, by which I mean literally: March in Missouri can be brutally cold, but sunny skies greeted ticketholders this year, lending the city and the nearby campus a positively Spring-like glow. The unseasonably balmy temperatures only amplified True/False’s sense of renewal and possibility, a sensation that was richly rewarded by the festival’s most daring work.

Rat Film started from the simplest of notions: Baltimore resident Theo Anthony decided to film a rat in a trash can that was trying to jump its way to freedom. That image, which starts the documentary, sets in motion a gripping amalgam of history, philosophy, experimentation and personal expression. Anthony traces his hometown’s complicated history with the repellent creature, examining (among other things) how city officials a century ago used the city’s poorest neighborhoods as a pseudo-laboratory for how to exterminate the little varmints.

But that’s just one tangent that Rat Film explores, often thrillingly. After one viewing, I can’t say that all the parts cohere as seamlessly as I’d like. (A virtual-reality tour of Baltimore seems like a DVD extra inserted into the film.) But the speed of Anthony’s disparate ideas is intoxicating, as random tangents bounce off each other with impressive zest, creating unexpected thematic links. Not surprisingly, then, Rat Film is hard to pin down—it’s a movie about large cities’ rat problems, but it’s also about racism and the evils of social Darwinism. Outside of Safari, it contains the single most harrowing moment at this year’s True/False. (Putting snakes and baby rats on screen together will never turn out well.)

Despite its power to shock, Rat Film asks us for compassion—not just for rats but, more profoundly, for the marginalized communities that consist of the most vulnerable among us: the poor, minorities, those without any power. This documentary is a nervy, almost punk-rock experiment, but its anger is directed at how often we don’t take care of each other. Those who experienced Rat Film will struggle to put its impact into words, but all of us who watched it are now connected by the experience. We became a community, but we’re not the only one—and maybe we should do more to bridge the gap between them. That’s what Rat Film demands, and it’s a mission that True/False continues to nurture. May it thrive.


Tim Grierson is chief film critic for Paste and Vice President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. You can follow him on Twitter.

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