2014: The Year When Activist Documentaries Hit the Breaking Point
If I were making a documentary about the uniformity that has infested modern documentaries, it would go something like this: Open with a sequence detailing the extent of the problem, flashing on examples of its reach, cutting in quick, declarative sound bites, scored with music of steadily mounting tension that climaxes just as the title is revealed. Over the next 90-120 minutes, I would lay out the problem in greater detail, primarily via copious interviews with experts on the subject, their data points illustrated via scores of snazzily animated infographics. Along the way, I would introduce the viewer to a handful of Regular Folk affected by the issue at hand, and show how their daily lives have become a struggle (or an inspiration). But lest I send the viewer staggering from the theater bereft of hope, I’d conclude by explaining, in the simplest terms possible, exactly how to solve the problem. And then, over the end credits, I would tell you, the viewer, what you can do to help — beginning with a visit to my documentary’s official website.