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.