Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Imposter

Film takes liberty on being technically polished as its dependency on real life footages is too minimal.

Nicholas Barclay
Frédéric Bourdin (1997)
In 1994, a 13 year old boy named Nicholas Barclay disappears from his home in Texas, USA. Three years later (i.e. in 1997) Frédéric Bourdin telephones from Spain pretending himself to be the lost Nicholas Barclay of Texas. Bourdin becomes successful in concealing his real identity through all official procedures to acquire American citizenship and to fly to the land of United States. He returns home with [Nicholas's] sister surprising the whole nation.

The kid Nicholas was very playful and outgoing, but this grown up boy is completely different. He has different accent now, and completely opposing behaviours, but the family accepts this stranger warmly. The family do not bother a second to identify if he is their real boy. 

Frédéric Bourdin (2012) telling his story.
Media and investigating bodies gets interested over new Nicholas. The news hit the whole US media as Nicholas accuses the kidnappers (high official US militaries) of  their continual torture that led to complete changes in his behaviour and even bodily organs, like colour of his eyes. The circulation of news persuades people with complete hatred towards savagery of its military. 

Meanwhile, one private investigator (Charlie Parker) does not take the Nicholas case easily. He follows the case so closely that he spots variations in few of his biological constructions. The impersonator couldn't concealed few of his biological characteristics (e.g. structures of his ears, accent he learnt from the family he grew with). It leads to more rooms for doubts and suspicions about his identity and objective.

Private investigator Charlie Parker
The impersonator is arrested in 1998 (four and half months after his arrival in the US) and is identified as Frédéric Bourdin (aged 23) from France wanted by the Interpol for frauds, and impersonating crimes he committed. His arrest does not leave the Nicholas' family in peace as Bourdin claims while in custody that the family knew of him as fake Nicholas from the beginning, and it was giving shelter to him only to cover it's crime. No one is ready to take the blame of who did what to whom as both Nicholas' sister and Bourdin curse 'fuck him' and 'I cared just about myself, and fuck the rest of it' respectively. The film ends with questions about Nicholas Barclay, and what happened to him in reality. 

Acot Adam O'Brian reenacting imposter Bourdin
Directed by British director Bart Layton, The Imposter (2012) is made in an approach of crime investigative drama. Film is very dramatic as it is constructed around reenacted scenes, real life interviews of the imposter, Nicholas' family members and relatives, and the investigators, and very few real footages. Interview of the imposter Bourdin serves as the principal backstory as reenactments are primarily based on his accounts of incidents. Bourdin's voice is used over the miming of the actors to authenticate the story as his account of the events, not the filmmaker's. 

Film takes liberty on being technically polished as its dependency on real life footages is too minimal. Editing gives smooth transitions and bridges between periods, handling every movements and changes very well. Wide landscapes, placement of interviewees inside the frames and their dress codes, appropriation in selecting settings for interviews, etc. well blend to the colour of the film. Lots of musics and sounds are used to add more of thrill and depth to the life of story. With The Imposter, storytelling through documentary films arrives at a very creative and sophisticated age.

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