Subject | Review | Tribeca Film Festival 2022


Subject toes the fine line of ethics in documentary storytelling while trying not to exploit the very thing it's critiquing. Led by the "subjects" of global hit docs, including The Staircase, Capturing the Friedmans, Hoop Dreams, The Wolfpack and more, the documentary aims to dissect the relationship between filmmaker and subject while suggesting better practices for future projects.

Somewhat pertinent in the wake of the Heard/Depp trial, directors Jennifer Tiexiera and Camilla Hall analyse our obsession with the "sexy" and fascination with the scandalous while unpicking the age-old question of "who gets to tell these stories and who is profiting the most?". 

Both a critique and a love letter to the art of non-fiction storytelling Tiexiera and Hall cover their story from all grounds. There's no stone left unintentionally unturned, and it delves into questions that have perhaps been discussed widely in print but not on screen. 

There's a lot of profound insight to unpack within the film, and it feels as though there's space for the contributors to talk freely about their experiences of having their lives, ultimately, commercialised. There's a fascinating idea presented that creates the existential question of whether there can be a division between fact and fiction. "Jessie's been a subject all his life," ex-wife of Jessie Friedman, whose family was documented in Capturing the Friedmans, says of Jessie's experience. The film came out in 2003, and ever since, Jessie has felt he hasn't been free to live as a person beyond his persona that got caught in the lens of Jarecki's documentary. 

Subject purposefully leaves out the film's directors, handing all agency over to the subjects. It's a one-of-a-kind look at the makings of documentaries, opening the conversation to scholars, critics and filmmakers, and tries to remain somewhat optimistic in its stance by celebrating the medium. It's hugely contemporary. By including documentaries that have been released as recent as 2021, Subject is not only a fascinating film but also a great piece of film history and is fighting for its contributors' rights against the timely backdrop of new media being created about them. One of the conversations the film leaves us with is the subjects of The Staircase and their thoughts on the new HBO series that was released just last week. It is clear just how urgent the film is, and it leaves its viewers with many questions to keep in mind when consuming non-fiction media in the future. 

Subject will have its World Premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival on June 11th. It is also playing on June 13th and 18th. 

For more information visit and ticketing info visit

Post a Comment

My Instagram

Copyright © Cinematic Faves. Made with by OddThemes . Distributed by Weblyb