Sometimes documentaries can be every bit as dramatic and exciting as the best fiction films. Sarah Polley's "Stories We Tell" is one such film. The film details the life of a marriage between a rather staid English-born writer (Mark Polley) and a free-spirited Canadian actress and casting director wife, Diane. The marriage produced some happiness, but also fissures of adultery and secrets known to some family members (and not to others) that sent reverberations decades later that reverberated to the lives of the grown children. Diane Polley (who died of cancer in 1990, when Sarah was just 11) is described by her daughter as having created a sort of tsunami that left the rest of her family in her wake. But the film creates such an intimate look at the total family ( via interviews and home movies and some recreations of events) and those friends around them that their lives were more touched than engulfed by the life energy that Diane, wife/mother/lover/friend/artist, bestowed on those she touched.
It is a film of strong dynamics, bringing together all of Sarah Polley's five siblings (two by her first marriage) into creating (through words and body language) an absorbing contrast into the various parallax of stories and remembrances that provide all families that common back-story that makes a shared fragment or identity with one another possible.
Ms. Polley is a Canadian film-maker known as a child actress in Road to Avonlea. At fourteen she left acting, moved out on her own and pursued a career as an activist for Canada's socialist New Democratic Party. She returned to her artistic career doing some commercial films like the zombie-inspired Dawn of the Dead, Splice, and Mr. Nobody while turning down other parts in major Hollywood films like the Bourne Identity series and others. She has stayed a mainly Canada-based film-maker, achieving feature film work as an actress, director and screenwriter in award-winning films like Away from Her . Her third directorial effort is a documentary "The Stories We Tell". It is a critically well-received work that explores her own family in a quest for the truth about her paternity and the family dynamic that generated her rather unique situation.
"Her latest film, Stories We Tell, is her first feature length documentary. It had its world premiere at the 2012 Venice Film Festival, and its North American premiere followed at the Toronto International Film Festival. The Toronto Film Critics Association awarded it the $100,000 prize for best Canadian film of the year." ----Curzon Films Website