5 Fantastic Documentaries From The Tribeca Film Festival That You’ll Want To See
By Alison Willmore
Point and Shoot
Like Grizzly Man, Point and Shoot was primarily shot by its subject, Matthew VanDyke, a quiet, blue-eyed Baltimore man who ended up fighting as a revolutionary in the Libyan civil war. Unlike Timothy Treadwell, VanDyke is still alive and kicking and able to tell his story to director Marshall Curry (Street Fight), though he’s had plenty of close calls. VanDyke was an introverted kid who developed a desire for adventure through video games, Lawrence of Arabia, and the travel docs of Australian filmmaker Alby Mangels. Eventually, he set off on what he called a “crash course in manhood” that began with buying a motorcycle, led to his driving through Africa into the Middle East, becoming a freelance war correspondent, and befriending a Libyan man named Nouri, filming along the way. When war broke out, he returned to Libya to fight alongside Nouri and his companions and endured a stint in prison there made all the more harsh by his OCD.
VanDyke’s story is one of a normal guy willing himself into someone larger-that-life (at one point he even tries to go by the new name of “Max Hunter”), but as he points out, that’s true for everyone. The American soldiers he met wanted to be filmed kicking down doors, while the rebels learned many of their ideas about warfare from movies and TV, standing on a truck blasting a machine gun. Half the people on screen are shown holding up their camera phones along with their weapons. It’s a film that raises fascinating questions about the idea of performance, toughness, and belonging.