I have an undying thirst for documentaries.
Few film genres draw me in as deep, and I easily spend most of my viewing time with historical or educational fare.
Good documentaries fascinate me, while the awful ones have me arguing with the television screen, debating ‘factual’ information with an unresponding bundle of pixels.
And then there are the ‘mockumentaries’: ‘This Is Spinal Tap’, ‘…And God Spoke’ (I’ll hit that one in an upcoming article), and the subject of this story, ‘Forgotten Silver’.
Were you astounded by Lord of the Rings? That was Peter Jackson, and he had an enormous budget. He later went on to direct a remake of King Kong (hey, maybe you saw it), but I’ve always been partial to Jackson’s less ambitious films like ‘Dead Alive’ and ‘The Frighteners’.
‘Forgotten Silver’ is one of these smaller films, and in my opinion is his finest work.
In 1997, Peter Jackson and a few willing accomplices created a fake documentary that was JUST accurate enough to fool a large portion of his native New Zealand, and yet filled with subtle humor… once you understand it’s a joke, it’s impossible to resist.
As the film opens, Jackson explains that he has discovered (in an old shed) a stash of films from a relatively unknown New Zealand director named Colin MacKenzie. What follows is an exploration of MacKenzie’s fictitious career, his groundbreaking discoveries and inventions, and the heartbreaking (yet funny) end of his filmmaking career.
Much like Forrest Gump, but without a traditional narrative, Jackson weaves the story of a brilliant film visionary through historical events, both real and imagined. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear you were watching The History Channel.
Take my word for it… you’ll like this film.
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