Let’s get real

Thanks to Turner Classic Movies, I finally saw the directorial debut, from 1979, of one of my favorite writers/actors/comedians, Albert Brooks. The movie, appropriately titled Real Life (3 ½ stars on 0-5 scale), is a groundbreaking mockumentary that predates the Christopher Guest films, Woody Allen’s Zelig (1983) and The Truman Show (1998). The latter, arguably the best mockumentary of all time, owes much to Real Life‘s reality-TV subject.

Though the film has its flaws and was met with mixed reviews when it premiered, its premise is truly original — or is it? Yes, it precedes most of the well-known pseudo-documentaries, but it’s by no means the first, as this Wikipedia discussion reveals. Film scholars often credit that achievement to Luis Buñuel’s 1933 fake social travelogue Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan, or Land Without Bread (2 stars), from 1933. A surreal, disturbing experiment in trickery, the short film, which you can watch below, broke new ground cinematically but is morally and socially deplorable, damaging the public’s trust in journalism, mocking human suffering, and torturing and killing animals. Watch at your own risk.



Leave A Comment