Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Agreeing to let his close friend write and shoot a documentary about his unrelenting quest for love, Devin Ratray’s only term of condition is that he is aided in his desperate search to meet and ‘court’ the woman of his dreams, Condoleezza Rice. As the basis for a documentary piece, this in itself sounds utterly bizarre. Director Sebastian Doggart (who may too have some form of obsession with Rice, his next film coming in the form of another documentary entitled AMERICAN FAUST: FROM CONDI TO NEO-CONDI) presents his truthful exploration of the largely unknown private life and upbringing of Condoleezza Rice wrapped in a thick layer of outlandish, Baren Cohen/Larry David style pseudo-documentary shenanigans.
Ratray, the man claiming to be in love with Rice, is probably best known for his stint in the HOME ALONE series of the early 90s, and his Jack-Blackian musical performances present a frame for the ‘documentary’ that can only be false and farcical, creating an oddball juxtaposition against genuine archive footage interviews of Rice as she details her upbringing, discussing issues of race, her passion for music and a secret delight for ice-skating. Are Ratray’s affections legitimate? Knowing he is an actor, there seems to be a little too much ironic comedic performance involved for it to be truth.
An illuminating documentary, encased in an outright eccentric shell, but yet one that somehow surprisingly succeeds in remaining informative, supplying a human soul to the political facade of Condoleezza herself.
© Laura J. Smith, Festival Daily, Cambridge Film Festival 2009.
Like White on Rice: Courting Condi at CFF 09
Laura J. Smith
Cambridge Film Festival 2009|Courting Condi|documentary|Festival Daily|