[Our Sunday Visitor, July 20, 2003]
Last month the movie buzz was about "The Matrix Reloaded" and its "What is reality?" theme. Joke's on us, because movies are inherently unreal. From the time you step into that darkened auditorium, you're a guest of Tinsel Town.
But there's another kind of movie which sets out to challenge this assumption. Documentaries are based on the irrefutable premise that film can capture reality more truly than any other art form. The 1922 silent, "Nanook of the North" set an early high standard. It depicted the harshness of Alaskan life with such directness that reporters flocked to the tundra to interview the star. Too late: he had perished, starving to death on an ice floe. That's reality, brother.