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F for Fake/ Thin Blue Line

kgould's picture

F for Fake, for me, was disorienting-- but in a fun, roller coaster kind of way. (Wait until we watch Tarnation. THAT is... yeah.) The editing style, at the time, was experimental and as Pamela noted, evocative of the MTV style editing we see today. I appreciated Welles's playfulness with the medium and I did not expect to find a cohesive narrative-- I was, at times, invested in what was "true" and what was "false," but I guess I didn't feel as betrayed or as angry as some of the other opinions we heard last week. 

Thin Blue Line, as a "real" documentary, bored me. At least in the content. I know today we might talk about who "really" did it-- despite the fact that there's no way we could know whether or not one man shot the officer-- but I think the form and the framing of the shots in the piece were more interesting than the silly dance that the convicts seemed to do. 

The investigating officers always had a background of a police station, an office, or of a map of Dallas behind them. This, for me, is interesting. We talked about maps being "factual" or "constructed," and the choice of the director to sit a detective in front of a map of Dallas county, presenting him as an authority who knew what happened, is curious in contrast to the two convicted men who, one in a white jumpsuit and the other in orange, were sitting against a void.

The witnesses, too, had interesting backgrounds. Living rooms or spaces in their homes with contrasting stories-- one of which ("they're scum") was never heard in court-- makes them civilians. 

The reenactments were also curious to me. Overly dramatic, with the officer spinning artfully and gracefully when shot, with all of the presumptions of what the witnesses talked about and what the police decided-- we can't know what REALLY happened...



jaranda's picture

While I watch a lot of

While I watch a lot of reality television, I thought the style of F is for Fake was too disorienting for my "filing cabinet mind", and I actually like the more straightforward way the "facts" were presented in The Thin Blue Line.

I agree that the way the people were presented had an interesting effect on whose story the viewers ended up finding more believable.   For some reason I immediately associated Harris's orange outfit with prison, but it took me longer to realize Adams was in prison as well.  The combination of the courtroom illustrations, their actual appearances, and the (odd) reenactments, made it was hard for me to take any of the witnesses seriously.    

The uncertainty of the whole case makes me wonder how many crimes are really ever "solved"

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