Truth is more engaging than fiction

Shannon and I bought a book of ten tickets each to the seventh Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal, and have been having an excellent past few days attending the screenings. Besides the fact that it wouldn’t be otherwise possible to find most of these films, it’s great to see them as part of a festival because you get to talk to the filmmakers afterwards. It’s been interesting; for example, the producer of L’homme et la montange, when asked how he had planned his script, responded that unlike fiction he didn’t need to decide ahead of time what would happen: he just followed an interesting person with a camera and captured the spontaneous moments which came about of their own accord, and completely described his subject for him. So far we’ve seen these:

Young-ja Wike and her husband in And Thereafter

L’homme et la montange

Short local flick featuring a Quebecois Gulf War I vet dying of a neurogenerative disease who is trying to find out whether it was caused by handling depleted uranium, or the experimental anthrax vaccine he was forced to take. Made by a young independent filmmaker who met his subject while hitchhiking.

And Thereafter

Feature-length film by a group of American-Koreans about a Korean War bride who married a G.I. and moved to New Jersy. Speaking little English, trying to raise three children who clearly despise her, and held in disdain by her abusive husband, she longs for the pre-war Korea she knew and finds comfort only in her extensive hot pepper garden.


Since increased environmental legislation made the practice less lucrative in the West some twenty years ago, about half the world’s ships have come to die on a long, shallow beach in the poor Indian state of Gujarat. The $600m CAD per year industry supplies about 15% of India’s iron but has been condemned by Greenpeace as an environmental disaster and kills by some estimates one worker a day. The shipyard owners fight increased regulation by pointing out, correctly, that higher costs would cause them to lose ships to competitors in China, Somalia, Bangledesh, and other countries whose governments have put in place no controls on shipbreaking at all.