« March 15, 2013

SXSW Film Reviews: 'We Always Lie to Strangers'

The double life of one small town in Missouri
Review by Joe O'Connell

We Always Lie to Strangers

Documentary Feature Competition, World Premiere
D: AJ Schnack, David Wilson
Branson, Mo., evokes images of country kitsch in a prepackaged glitzy form, and the folks who live there know what you're thinking. That's clear in this documentary examining what happens when a conservative town of just more than 10,000 greets 7 million tourists yearly and presents shows that are somewhere between dinner theatre and Las Vegas razzle-dazzle. Docs live and die by their chosen focus, and here it's longtime Branson show folk the Presleys (no relation to Elvis); the liberal California outsiders the Lennon family, whose female members gained fame on The Lawrence Welk Show; gay divorced dad Chip Holderman; and the Tinoco family, who are struggling to keep their show afloat in a down economy. The film gives respect to Branson, but it shines brightest when it exposes the town's cognitive dissonance: If you bring show folk to town, don't be surprised if many of them are gay, and even more are liberal.
Friday, March 15, 2pm, Alamo Ritz