The Hollywood Reporter announced that IFC Films has acquired North American rights to the Berlin International Film Fest title, Puzzle, directed by Natalia Smirnoff. The Argentine film will be released this year after the fall festival roundup via IFC's In Theaters platform--making the VOD version available the same day as the theatrical premiere.
Puzzle follows forty-something housewife Maria del Carmen (Maria Onetto) who has doted on her husband and children for the past twenty years. When she receives a puzzle as a birthday present, she suddenly discovers she has a gift for assembling them at lightning speed--something her family ignores. As her passion for puzzles grows, the bonds of her relationships are tested.
We can add this title to the long list of narrative films and documentaries that pay homage to the geeky hobbies and games many of us love. Puzzle takes its place alongside fictional films like Mazes and Monsters, Fanboys and The Wild Hunt, as well as "true-life" celebrations of our nerdy passions like Trekkies or The Dungeons & Dragons Experience.
My personal preference on this subject has always been documentaries. The drama of true stories has always been an absorbing topic, and these docs are no exception--featuring real people who have touching and often tragic tales, making them much easier for audiences to connect with. Films like Darkon examine the way people escape from their mundane real world existence by creating elaborate fantasy worlds. In this case, suiting up in medieval costumes and beating each other senseless with Nerf swords in a battle over fictional kingdoms. Second Skin delves into a similar topic focusing on the allure of Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming--showcasing, amongst other things, one couple's struggle to transfer their in-game romance to the real world. Scrabble geeks have Word Wars, which takes the audience inside the world of competitive Scrabble gaming.
Perhaps my favorite geek-doc is The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, which follows two men engaged in a battle to set the world record high score on the Donkey Kong arcade game. I was never a great Donkey Kong player and while I have an affection for arcade games in general, I'm more drawn to the obsession and struggle one of the men endures to live up to his potential and overcome a lifetime of hurdles and disappointments. There's also a great balance of humor and thoughtfulness, with a quirky and contrasting cast of characters ripe with conflict, but it's all for the love of the game. Yes, a movie about video games can tug on the heartstrings and this one reaches far beyond pixels and joysticks.
So, which do you prefer seeing on the big screen more? Films that explore the emotional and often heartbreaking reality without "created" stereotypes or a fictional narrative approach to a subject that makes for compelling entertainment?