Documentaries have become a dime a dozen over the last few years; the increased availability of technology, a growing acceptance of low production values and the myriad subjects that are out there to be investigates making it the genre of choice for many filmmakers. It’s only the very best of them, however, that either introduce their audiences to something new or revisit something familiar in an original, interesting and entertaining way. And Ondi Timoner’s fascinating film We Live in Public can certainly be counted amongst these.
Despite its small size, the common honey bee is of central importance to humanity. Responsible for the pollination and successful growth of various fruits, crops nuts and seeds on which we rely, the tireless work of the bees goes way beyond producing the honey for our morning toast. So the fact that across the United States and Europe honey bees have been vanishing without trace in their droves should be a cause for concern for us all, and director George Langworthy’s documentary attempts to present the facts along with firsthand accounts from those working in the industry.
Making a splash
On the face of it, John Maringouin’s film following Slovenian endurance swimmer Martin Strel’s attempt to swim the Amazon River is a straightforward documentary, combining interviews with Strel and his team along with footage of him training and his past triumphs. Yet as the film progresses you realise that this is part doc, part art installation and part experimenta, with dreamlike sequences and mesmeric narration weaving through the footage; some of it seemingly staged. As you get to know the hulking figure at the centre of the film, you begin to understand why Maringouin has taken this approach.