The Americans are coming, the Americans are coming. A group of us landed Tuesday morning in London, en route to Oxford, for the third annual BRITDOC Festival at Keble College. The weather is much better this year than when I attended in 2006, and a heatwave had hit the town. Mildly jet-lagged, but ready to roll, BRITDOC 2008 here we come. A few preview pieces on the festival have just been published. Among them, the Times Online looks at the rock doc theme:
A gravel-voiced man sings Coldplay’s “Fix You” as if his heart will burst. A drummer plays “Wild Thing” as if he wants to smash his kit. Young men writhe in ecstasy as a band belts out Metallica tracks. It’s a scene played out a million times in the rock era – except that the gravel voice belongs to an 80-year-old, the drummer has Down’s syndrome and the metalheads are in Baghdad, where Iraqis have been shot for speaking English. They appear in three remarkable films which have their UK premieres at the Britdoc festival next week.
The Independent chats with BRITDOC honoree Larry Charles (director of doc hybrid Borat, as well as Bill Maher’s upcoming religion doc Religulous):
The 52-year-old funny man is set to appear at London’s BRITDOC festival, kicking off on Wednesday. He is down to talk about Religulous – a documentary about religion crafted with fellow veteran US comic Bill Maher – its title a fusion between the words “religion” and “ridiculous”. The movie sees Maher travelling to numerous religious destinations, including Jerusalem and the Vatican, to interview a raft of outlandish zealots, including “Jews for Jesus”, polygamists and Satanists. Its release is scheduled for the US in October, with other countries to follow.
“This has been a subject that I have been interested in since I was a child. Since then, it has variously consumed and obsessed me. As it turned out, Bill was obsessed by the same subject,” he explains. “My grandfather went to temple every day and was a very pious man. Me, after my bar mitzvah, I was done with it. My father taught me how to be a jokester about it all, though. He would sit there during Passover and make jokes and puns with Hebrew words.”