If one of your family members disappeared for almost four years and then came back into your life, would you recognize them? How could you be sure this person, who you once thought you knew so well, was actually who they said they were? You’re probably thinking that you’d just know the person, no questions asked. Bart Layton‘s fascinating documentary The Imposter, however, suggests that might not always be the case.

Nicholas Barclay disappeared at the age of 13. Years later, his family got a call saying that he’d been found in Spain. His sister flew out to see him, and brought him home. All was right with the world. Except for one thing: the person they thought was Nicholas wasn’t Nicholas. It was a Frenchman named Frédéric Bourdin.

The Imposter, which received rave reviews at Sundance and South by Southwest, opens in New York July 13 before expanding to other cities throughout August. We’re lucky enough to have an exclusive clip. In it, you’ll see one of the dozens of incredible feats Bourdin had to overcome to convince the Barclay family he was, in fact, Nicholas. Read More »

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Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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Year after year, documentaries prove that as the old saying goes, the truth really is wilder than fiction. This year’s Sundance hit The Imposter tells the tale of a Texas family whose 13-year-old child disappeared in 1994. Three years later, their son was found in Spain, telling tales of kidnapping and torture. The family rejoiced at having their son back, but the happiness lasted only a few months before the truth came out: the boy who’d come home wasn’t actually missing child Nicholas Barclay, but a 23-year-old Frenchman and serial imposter named Frédéric Bourdin. Directed by Bart Layton, the documentary uses recreations, home movie footage, and interviews with Bourdin, the family, and others involved to piece together the crazy story. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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Bart Layton‘s The Imposter might technically be a documentary, but it feels like a narrative feature. The film tells the story of a Texas family whose 13-year-old son goes missing, only to show up three and a half years later in Spain with a story about kidnap and torture. He is returned home to his family where he lived for a few months before it was revealed that he was an imposter — a frenchman named Frédéric Bourdin.

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