TIFF review: This Is Not A Movie

Yung Chang's documentary about British journalist Robert Fisk is complex and cinematic


THIS IS NOT A MOVIE DOCS D: Yung Chang. Canada/Germany. 106 min. Sep 9, 7 pm, Scotiabank 2 Sep 11, 8:30 pm, Scotiabank 13. Rating: NNNN


The British journalist Robert Fisk has spent his career pushing back against official narratives and manufactured truths, from Northern Ireland and the Iran-Iraq war to the more recent conflict in Syria. Toronto documentarian Chang (Up The Yangtze, China Heavyweight) tags along with the aging lion to see how he does what he does.

This Is Not A Movie takes its title from Fisk’s disdain for journalists who unconsciously shape their stories to create clear moral arcs with simplistic heroes and villains he understands that real life is messier and less defined, and a lot uglier.

But Chang still finds way to make Fisk’s story cinematic – as in an early, seamless cut that takes us from Fisk and his crew escaping the shelling of Abadan in 1980 to driving through a pulverized Homs in 2018. The more things change, and so on. 

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