Michael Waterhouse

Agent Provocateur

Nick Broomfield: Documenting Icons


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In these days of increasingly formulaic factual television, it’s refreshing to know that there is one director who when he sets out on a shoot, has no idea of the film he will eventually make. For over thirty years Nick Broomfield has been documenting the social and institutional life of Britain and America in his own particular style, a style now much imitated by, amongst others, Michael Moore. Broomfield’s approach is a creative amalgam of careful research and mad contingency. He spends weeks living with his subject, and what he captures on film is rarely straightforward. He usually hits a crisis which threatens to sabotage the whole project. Somehow, he stumbles on; and the documentary that results will be by turns chaotic, funny, perceptive and moving.

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