Film festival documentary highlights

More than three dozen non-fiction titles in this festival programme will keep documentary fans busy, and smart festivalgoers will rightly reckon that the docos are the least likely to return. The best of those I have previewed include:

Deep Water (UK)
The 1970 book The Strange Voyage of Donald Crowhurst by two Sunday Times reporters told the remarkable story of a hoax round-the-world trip by a yachtsman. This fantastic film draws on a stunning range of sources to get at the truth of what happened. Haunting, mesmerising, brilliant.

Forever (Netherlands)
The dead tell the best stories. Festival regular Heddy Honigmann is on top form with a gentle, tender, watchful film that observes the visitors to Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film (US)
The maker of the masterful The Civil War tackles the artist who defined the second half of his century. Originally made for PBS' "American Masters" series, this runs four hours and it's not a moment too long.

My Kid Could Paint That (US)
A film about "the pint-sized Pollock", a possible child prodigy who enchanted the art buyers of New York, morphs into a brave and intelligent study of the process by which the media makes and unmakes celebrity.

The Monastery (Denmark)
You won't find an odder character in the festival than Mr Vig, the ancient and profoundly eccentric man who resolves to turn his crumbling stately home into a monastery. Engaging and offbeat.

Manufactured Landscapes (Canada)
The festival's most eye-popping doco follows a famous photographer as he documents "made" landscapes, either degraded or uber-industrialised, and takes you into worlds impossible to imagine.

I Have Never Forgotten You (US)
A meditative portrait of Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal, a self-described "survivor who pays for the privilege of being alive", reveals a man of prodigious humility and compassion.

Jesus Camp (US)
This disturbing portrait of the moral rearmament of children in middle America attracted devotion and derision in about equal measure there which, along with the fact that nobody complained about being misrepresented, attests to its evenhandedness.

Manufacturing Dissent (USA)
The debunking of Michael (Fahrenheit 9/11) Moore has been largely accomplished in both media and blogosphere, partly for questionable motives but largely by people who have explained how his films aren't really very good.

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