Pseudo-documentary movies have always been a favourite with this Video Monkey. That added little bit of realism and that 'put-you-in-the-action' perspective of that first person cameraman, is a pleasant change from the normal 'sit-back-and-watch-the-story-unfold' of most movies.
With the popularity of THE BLAIR WITCH, I think we have seen more of these pseudo-docmentaries popping up. That, and with the recent popularity of all these retarded reality TV shows (yeah, they are really real, com'on now!?!), I think we'll see more of these in the future too. Check out SERIES 7: The Contenders at your local video store.
Now certainly THE BLAIR WITCH, and all the TV shows it spawned, was the most hyped of these movies, but it is, by far, not the first, and certainly not the best (although, I though it was full on). Some of the more popular ones, like SPINAL TAP or CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST or even THE LAST BROADCAST, pre-date BWP by years.
Some of my favourites and lesser known examples of pseudo-documentary flicks include HARD CORE LOGO, 84 CHARLIE MOPIC, ST. FRANCISVILLE EXPERIMENT and this weeks MOVIE OF THE WEEK:
MAN BITES DOG
Now despite cleaning up at various film festivals, including a Metro Media Award at the Toronto Film Festival and Best Actor AND Best Film at the Catalonian International Film Festival, back in 1992, this film has remained relatively obscure.
And that is a real shame, cause this film is so very cool!
This was shot in Belgium by three student film makers. The plot concerns a group of film makers who follow around this serial killer/criminal to document his various day to day activities. Besides just killing, this rather interesting psychopath explains the method to his maddness, ie. start the month off killing a postman for the the old age checks, and gives lessons on the finer points of homicide, like how to weigh down a body for disposal in water (there are set ratios for ballist to body weight), he also enlightens us on his views of art and music and fine food and his rather biggoted views of society, and of course, takes the crew on drinking binges. It isn't long before the film crew is caught up in his goings on...
It's shot on film and in black and white, and is excellently authentically looking. It is subtitled which I'm sure was why it wasn't that big here with the Hollywood Drones in North America. Plus the fact that the American release was cut about 4 or 5 minutes...
It's NOT a big gore flick!!! However, the killing are realistic and disturbing. And the real grabber is the absurdity of the killer's character and these film makers, yet it all seems so twistedly logical and reasonable that it makes me think, "hell ya, this could happen." Hence, I think, the original Belgium title: "C'est arrivé près de chez vous", translated: "It Happened In Your Neighborhood". I found myself laughing out loud in some parts of it, then of course feeling disturbed about it a second later. If this sort of Black Humour is your bag, then this film is your baby!!!