Reality can also be funny. Even Aristotle knew it and wrote a whole paper on the subject. Ironically, the text was lost, being perhaps the most curious gag of his life. GuideDoc brings you five best documentary films that use humor and laughter to tell us about small and great human dilemmas in various parts of the world.
Please Vote for me by Weijun Chen (2007)
Chinese director Weijun Chen makes a funny portrayal of an unprecedented democratic election that takes place in the microcosm of a classroom of an elementary school in Wuhan, China. Please Vote for me is the first time that students will be able to vote for the monitor of their class, a democratic concept that causes confusion and curiosity in children born in a country where popular vote culture is only incipient. Faced with the expected election, three little candidates design their strategies to win voters during an election campaign that becomes voracious. Betrayal, emotive speeches and even bribes are actions that seem to be worth to be elected in this kind of third-grade experiment to show us the wild show of today’s representative democracy.
Cane Toads: An Unnatural History by Mark Lewis (1988)
In 1935 cane toads were introduced in northern Australia to fight a pest of beetles that threatened cane sugar plantations in the area. Ironically, the medicine ended up being worse than the disease from the moment that the toads, not satisfied with eradicating the insect, began to eat everything that was in its way. In Cane Toads: An Unnatural History we see a comic yet careful exploration of the problem of cane toads and their worrying proliferation throughout northern Australia fifty years after their arrival. In a very different approach to that of a National Geographic show, the film finds humor in tragedy, mainly in the rare and curious behavior of the toad and in the diverse and passionate opinions of the local inhabitants on what must be done to end this plague of small invaders.
Men with Balls by Kristof Kovacs (2013)
A tennis court lands in the middle of nowhere. More specifically, in Becens, a small Hungarian village in which almost the entire population is unemployed. The place becomes the meeting place of the jobless people who begin to take up their new hobby. The rapid disinterest in attending the court by the inhabitants and their own continuous failure to maintain a economic local project are two sides of the same coin: the contradictions of a society seeking economic progress. A veteran tennis coach and a picturesque mayor are the enthusiastic protagonists that make Men with Balls a fascinating film.
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The Island of Flowers by Jorge Furtado (1989)
The story of a tomato from its harvest to its unpredictable fortune among the rubbish of a landfill in Brazil becomes the ironic portrait of the consequences of modern development in third world countries. In just thirteen minutes, a cynical narrator gives a detailed explanation of the processes involved in the “journey” of the tomato, as if the spectators were extraterrestrials that just arrived on this planet. In this operation takes place an exquisite dissection of capitalism, a system that is sold under the veneer of an idealized happiness that very few enjoy. The title of the film refers precisely to this irony. In this little jewel of The Island of Flowers - Best Comedy Documentary Film, reality is presented to us naked and horrific in a transgressing and colorful humor.
Animal Love by Ulreich Seidle (1996)
In Animal Love the shameless filmmaker Ulreich Seidl presents us with an eccentric catalog of humans and their beasts. The coldness of the approach of the Austrian director is revealed in the static shots with which he portrays the different relationships between men and pets, being mainly the dog an animal of particular devotion. Between the grotesque and the satire, the film digs into the daily rose between these two species, revealing a certain codependency and even religious and sexual veneration between some owners and their domesticated animals. Filmed as a sample seen under a microscope, this most ancient carnal relationship shows us our inherent bestiality, a form of projected grooming that the film knows how to capture in the most disturbing comedy.
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