A common convention of ‘talking head’ documentaries can be the cross-cutting of archival footage and bits from old movies to illustrate a point being made by an interview subject. Cutesy clips can make a dry interview more compelling.
Case in point, David Sington’s well-done new doc “The Flaw,” an exploration of the recent financial crisis that marries new interviews featuring economic experts and individual victims of the downturn with humorous scenes snipped from optimistic, informational training films of the 1950s, like “What Makes Us Tick,” an animated short that amusingly explains how the stock market works.
Not unlike Charles Ferguson’s “Inside Job,” Sington’s film (a world premiere here at the Sheffield Doc/Fest) aims to make sense of the economic crisis. As depressing as the Ferguson film, “The Flaw” delivers its message with a bit of sugar-coating to make it all the more digestible.
Sington (right), director of 2007’s “In The Shadow of the Moon,” reiterated today at a post-screening Q & A in Sheffield that he went into making the movie without an agenda and frankly lacking insight into its subject. Contacted by a pair of British media men from the left and the right, he accepted the for-hire film unsure of quite where to begin. But, he said today, he’s used to interviewing smart people and set about finding experts who could help him make sense of the crisis.
While in the edit room with frequent collaborator, editor David Fairhead (left), he read an article in the Financial Times that charted wealth inequality. A light bulb went off. He’d found a way to explain the economic crisis and present the data and insights he’d gathered.
The trailer for “The Flaw” is below (via the film’s website):
iphone photo above of David Sington (right) and David Fairhead (left) by eugene hernandez