Bridging The Gap

Bridging The Gap


Reviewed by: Susanna Krawczyk

Five short documentaries linked by theme; this year the theme is 'lies'. Each of the directors has managed to find their own take on this theme, to most interesting effect:

Mentiras: A harrowing first-person account of illegal ambushes and assassinations carried out during an official ceasefire in Mexico between the government and the rebels. One of the men involved in the government’s unscrupulous dealings comes forward to tell his tale and attempt to clear his conscience. Alongside atmospheric shots of Mexican streets and countryside, his unrelenting and harrowing tale is told. Another example of governmental lies, and another exhortation not to follow orders blindly and not to believe everything you read. (dir. Nick Higgins)

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Upside Down (Ruckenlage): A fascinating account of Rudolf Hess’ solo flight to Scotland in 1941. His stated goal in the letters he wrote (and that the narration of the film is taken from) was to negotiate for peace, but its use here under the heading of 'lies' suggests otherwise. Perhaps his obsession with and determination to make the flight were born from other feelings, less noble but more human. Fear of what was being done in Germany, fear of the reprisals against him when (as perhaps he secretly felt was inevitable) the Third Reich collapsed, and the desire to be free of the construct within which he had power but was at the same time confined. His joy in flying over unrestricted territory is stated alongside beautiful aerial footage of the Scottish coast, as is his willingness for Hitler to distance himself from him, to be seen as a crazy man acting randomly. In the end, however, he professed to be unrepentant. (dir. Astrid Bussink)

The Big Lie: An interesting juxtaposition of footage and survivor testimony from the Spanish civil war. An elderly ex-soldier tells of his experiences fighting fascism in the 1930s despite the collusion of European governments in its favour. His story is heartfelt, and he exhorts us not to believe everything that is shown to us and told to us by the mass media as the images change from black and white images of Spanish peasants weeping over the dead to colour footage of the Middle East today. A point that has been made before, perhaps, that humankind is ever unwilling to learn from its history and that governments will always be willing to lie to their people, but a point well made just the same. (dir. Peter Everett)

Last in Line: A touching little story about seventy-year-old Sheila Stewart, the last remaining member of a family of travelers who lived a nomadic life in Scotland for many years. She tells of the lies and stories that circulated in her day about the “tinks”, and how she is afraid her traditions and way of life will die with her. She sings traditional songs and tells a few stories about her life as a child. She is fiercely proud and it seems a shame indeed for a tradition of storytelling, singing and traveling may be all but dead in this part of the world. A most interesting and sad insight into a largely unknown part of Scottish history. (dir. Dylan Drummond & Blair Scott)

The Truth About Tooth: This was a delightful piece, at once heartwarming and slightly sad, with just the right amount of humour as it juxtaposed the words of children telling what they believe about the tooth fairy with prosaic images and statements from factory workers telling the 'real' story of what happens to the teeth. A highly insightful way in which to highlight the differences between a child’s and an adult’s way of thinking, the parents of the children sigh wistfully as they say what the audience is thinking, that sometimes you wish you could go back to the magical time in childhood when all that mattered was that a fairy came, took your tooth and left you some sweetie money with which to aid the loss of more teeth, and never mind the boring details that would have to exist if such a thing as a tooth processing factory really existed. This film also helps to add a positive spin to the whole collection: a way in which lies can be positive and helpful in our lives. (dir. Hazel Baillie)

Reviewed on: 07 Sep 2006
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Five documentaries about lies.

Director: Various

Year: 2006

Runtime: 60 minutes


EIFF 2006

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