For a special April Fool’s Day Five In Focus series, a group of documentary directors choose their favorite five fake documentaries.
F for Fake
Awesome! Not really a fake documentary, but a documentary about fakes and the tension between truth, representation and a good story. Orson Welles is a filmmaker on fire here, proving that documentary really is the most wide open and formally fluid genre around.
Take The Money And Run
The first film Woody Allen directed. The narrator really makes this for me. Virgil Starkwell playing cello in the marching band. Pulling a slice of salami out of his wallet to share. Shuffling along with the chain gang. A pure genius string of gags!
A Hard Day's Night
I first saw Richard Lester present a restored 35mm print of this Beatles film at a festival in 2000. This pseudo-verité seems to have invented the music video and to some extent, the Beatles. Pure film fun and a decent soundtrack. Beautiful film! Either you won't believe it was made in 1964, or you'll wonder what filmmakers have been doing since.
Man Bites Dog
A funny little Belgium film about a film crew that starts following a charming murderer and slowly becomes more involved in helping him carry out his crimes. It forced me to throw away a short film script about film students hitchhiking with a camera and a gun who get picked up by a helpful psycho-killer.
Is this really a mockumentary? Only Borat and his crew are faking it. It seems like nobody else is in on the joke. This may be one of my favorite documentaries about America and it's marvelous and multifaceted peoples.