From Fact To Friction

With films gritty and grim, or warm and epic, directors of documentaries are helping define a vital new form of reality movies



Fiction--who needs it? Not when real life is so gripping, so bizarre, so very real. TV went the reality route long ago; now movie audiences are finding that Superman is no match for Grizzly Man. Some gifted directors (Martin Scorsese, Michael Apted, Werner Herzog) commute easily between fiction films and documentaries. They know that good stories don't always come from a writer's imagination. JT Petty makes horror movies for a living. (He also writes video games and children's books.) But he was haunted by a real story from his youth: a neighbor had been stalking and...

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