As I noted in my latest Doc Talk column at Movies.com, we will have seen at least seven documentary sequels bow in 2011 (see the titles profiled in my column). That’s still well short of the record number of fiction follow-ups we’re experiencing this year, but it still seems nonfiction cinema has contracted a case of sequelitis. On the horizon are sequels to major titles like “GasLand,” “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters” (in dramatized form), “Cosmos” and “Becoming Chaz,” as well as the latest entry in Michael Apted’s “Up” series.
I’m sure there are plenty others not on my radar, but I’d like to use this week’s Doc Talk as a jumping off point for a minor discussion/poll on potential doc sequels you’d like to see. Wish the guys behind “Catfish” were following up with that crazy story rather than helming a “Paranormal Activity” sequel? Want to see more of Banksy’s shenanigans since “Exit Through the Gift Shop”? Should Spike Lee visit New Orleans in four years for a second sequel to “When the Levees Broke”? Can Alan and Susan Raymond please do another anniversary update on the Loud family (from “An American Family”) in 2013, if only to wash the taste of HBO’s “Cinema Verite” out of our brains?
You’ll need to think about which docs are truly in need of or deserve a full feature sequel. Some films merely get follow-ups as anniversary DVD supplements, or a short filmed reunion, a la “War Dance Returns.” Some, like “The Cove,” get TV specials that function as sequels. Documentary sequels shouldn’t simply play catch-up and bring us updates and reunions, even if that works for Apted’s series. What I like about this year’s “Revenge of the Electric Car” (out Oct. 21) is that it changes focus from “Who Killed the Electric Car?” so it’s a totally new story that’s still somewhat connected to the original. Someone commented on my column suggesting a return to the film ratings board first exposed and scrutinized in “This Film is Not Yet Rated.” I’d see that.
Coincidentally, as I was working on this week’s Doc Talk, “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” presented a parodic look at what a sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth” could look like. Here’s that video:
Kidding aside, though, what documentary sequel would you like to see?