“Dark Acres”

Just came across a Screen Magazine article promoting Tara Wray’s autobiographical documentary, Manhattan, Kansas, which I mentioned a few weeks ago. The artcile highlights some of Wray’s inspirations for making the doc, including Nicolas Philibert’s To Be and To Have, which I’ve been planning to see for several weeks. The article also mentions many of the challenges involved in making a personal documentary. Wray’s description of her interviews with her mother is interesting, especially given the degree to which the camera is often seen as increasing the tension between the documentary filmmaker and her subject:

Sometimes it felt a bit self-indulgent, though, talking about myself to my own camera. But, at this point, enough people have taken an interest in the story. I’ve allowed myself to let go of the fear that I’m just gazing at my navel. Sometimes I held the camera, sometimes I used a tripod. Mostly I just tried not to drop the damn thing. The camera was a really effective distraction for me, a nice buffer between my mother and me – a shield. It was a way for me to feel like I was invisible while still being in the same room as my mom. It would have been way too intense to spend a month with her without the weight of the film pulling me through.

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