STORIES WE TELL (Sarah Polley) A Mongrel Media release. 108 minutes. Opens Friday (October 12). See times. Rating: NNNNN
Sarah Polley's exploration of her tangled family history is a complex and thoroughly fascinating inquiry into the nature of truth and memory - and, inevitably, into Polley herself.
Beginning as a remembrance of her mother, larger-than-life actor and casting agent Diane Polley (who died when Sarah was 11), but quickly revealing a larger scope and a far more ambitious structure, Stories We Tell uses interviews with friends and family to create a sort of master narrative for the Polley family, with the marriage of Michael and Diane as the dramatic focus.
But it gradually becomes clear that Sarah herself is the real subject, and it's thrilling to watch her use the documentary as an attempt to process the revelations that led her to make it in the first place.
Given the themes that drive Away From Her and Take This Waltz, Stories We Tell seems like the movie Polley's been trying to make all along - a personally risky, stylistically assured attempt to engage with persistent issues of family, loyalty, identity and cinema.
And it works on every level.