Betty Tells Her Story (1972)
This film is considered ground breaking in the documentary
genre and has gained iconic status. In two continuous takes, a woman
sitting in a chair tells a story about the purchase of a dress — twice.
First, Betty describes how she needed “the perfect dress” for a very
special occasion and humorously explains in detail how she found just
the right one, spent more than she could afford for it, modeled it for
admiring friends, felt absolutely transformed and then…never got to
wear it. Then Betty is asked to tell her story again, but this time the
story is strikingly different. While the facts remain the same, Betty
reveals her anxiety over buying the dress, her discomfort at being
praised for beauty she feels she doesn’t have, and her disappointment
at losing the rare opportunity to be “beautiful.” The contrast between
the two stories reveals her deeper feeling about herself and her place
in the world.