Kati With An I (#110 of 2)

Lichman and Rizov "Live" at Grassroots Tavern: Season 6, Episode 4, "The Fake It So Real Podcast"

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Lichman and Rizov “Live” at Grassroots Tavern: Season 6, Episode 4, “The Fake It So Real Podcast”
Lichman and Rizov “Live” at Grassroots Tavern: Season 6, Episode 4, “The Fake It So Real Podcast”

Hello Lincolnton, North Carolina!

The summer keeps going as we talk shop with Robert Greene and his new documentary Fake It So Real, which opens tomorrow at Rooftop Films in Brooklyn with a special post-screening wrestling match. We talk a bit about his previous doc, Kati with an I, and delve a bit into wrestling terminology just to make Vadim's eyes gloss over like a good mark would.

Then we go into a minor spoiler about the film, which you'd otherwise never learn; the cinema of grown men slapping each other around; and the rather intimate presentation that Greene brings to the week-in-the-life of this cultural event that is slowly becoming more and more commercial despite the local roots of the thing. I'd also add [INSERT COMMENTARY ABOUT INDEPENDENT FILM AND WRESTLING HERE]. It's very apt, no? But we go into the day-to-day of these men who want nothing more than a chance to break into an industry dominated by a single conglomerate (WWE) that does get name-checked—and has been in the news recently as one of their more high profile stars audibly broke character and then left.

True/False Film Festival 2011: Fake It So Real

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True/False Film Festival 2011: <em>Fake It So Real</em>
True/False Film Festival 2011: <em>Fake It So Real</em>

A surprisingly welcome respite from the shimmering hi-def images of most of this year's True/False docs, the grainy, autumnal hues of Robert Greene's Fake It So Real offer a nice counterpoint to the bleating that opens the film. Greene's follow up to last year's indelible, uncommonly gentle Kati with an I begins with a sequence of close-ups of minor-league professional wrestlers in roomy chokeholds and bogus pain.

As he did with Kati with an I (starring his half-sister), Greene shot most of Fake It So Real (co-starring his cousin) in just a week. It's set in rural North Carolina, among a group of big-gunned, kindhearted wrestlers who put on biweekly shows in churches and grange halls. It is, in the wake of The Wrestler, almost too much of a no-brainer of an idea for a documentary, but there's no drug abuse and there are no staple guns in this film. (In fact, the wrestlers pride themselves on being a family-friendly alternative to other leagues in the state.) Amid the chokehold montages and extended conversations of the cast discussing and tiptoeing around homophobia, Greene's film is imbued with empathy.