Hot Docs: Important Screening Tonight!

One of the most important and influential documentaries of all time will be screened tonight as part of the Hot Docs film festival. The Thin Blue Line, Errol Morris' groundbreaking film about convicted murderer Randall Adams, will be shown at the Isabel Bader Theatre at 9:15 PM. Surprisingly, tickets for this event are still available at the door.

If you have never seen The Thin Blue Line, do yourself a favour and buy a damn ticket. The Board of Directors doesn't just give away Outstanding Achievement Awards for nothing. Errol Morris has built a solid reputation as one of the finest documentary filmmakers of all time. The Thin Blue Line, in my opinion, is the most captivating and important piece in his film corpus. Not only does it use experimental techniques to illustrate story and point of view, it also was partly responsible for acquitting a man of murder.

The Thin Blue Line revolves around the shooting death of Dallas police officer Robert Wood. After the homicide, two suspects were apprehended: Randall Adams and David Harris. Harris was only 16-years-old at the time of the murder. This film forces us to question the motives of the authorities who decide to clear Harris, the minor, of all charges. We get the feeling that Randall Adams was a convenient scapegoat, somebody who could legally be sentenced to death and thus appease the bloodthirsty public.

Morris uses dramatic re-enactments, music, slow motion, and other filmic devices to represent the events as remembered by key witnesses. Eventually these witnesses begin to offer too much information...holes form in the various perspectives floating around. Morris is a master interviewer: He allows his subjects to answer questions, and then, rather than move along, Morris allows a terrible silence to hang in the air. After a while, the subject chooses to fill this silence with important, and often damning, testimonial.

The Thin Blue line is accompanied by a haunting score by Phillip Glass, and ends with one of the most memorable, jaw-dropping scenes of all time. If you have already seen this film, try exposing somebody else to it - they will thank you for it. No doubt. Tickets are only $10 and, at the time of this post, are still available at the Isabel Bader Theatre. For more information, visit the Hot Docs website: www.hotdocs.ca

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