Jock Docs Professional Wrestling Double Feature: "Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows" & "La Lutte"
Curated by Laura Coxson
Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows
(Dir. Paul Jay, 1998, 94 minutes)
In this feature-length documentary, director Paul Jay was given unprecedented access to the world of Bret Hart and pro wrestling as his camera followed Bret "the Hitman" Hart for one year. Going behind the tightly guarded walls of wrestling's spectacle and theatre, the film explores the meaning of today's wrestling morality plays. As fantasy crosses into real life, the true story of Bret Hart's struggle with Vince McMahon, the legendary owner of the WWF, is revealed. Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows climaxes with the tale of the biggest double-cross in pro wrestling.
La Lutte ("Wrestling")
(By Michel Brault, Claude Fournier, Marcel Carriere, Claude Jutra, 1961, 27 min., black and white.)
Like most films to come out of the 'Quiet Revolution' period in Quebec, La Lutte is disarming in it's presentation and subject matter. The filmmakers used the then new handheld technology to shoot a documentary that superficially covers the local wrestling circuit of the day. What Jutra et al. were really interested in was the fact that the audience of such an event are fully aware that entertainment wrestling is fake. Nevertheless, people allow themselves to be swept away in the illusion that a drama such as this provides. Using the cinema to explore these ideas (which were first examined by Roland Barthes, and he is thanked in the end credits) with the cinema verite aesthetic, one could conclude that the filmmakers were suggesting an overall, albeit subtle, thesis statement that was intended to comment on the cinema itself through the thin vale provided by the film's immediate subject matter. --Henry Flower
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