Hot Docs 2014: 112 Weddings (Doug Block)

2014_hotdocs_stock_imageIt’s tough for me to call a favorite this early in the Hot Docs schedule, but Doug Block’s incredible film, 112 Weddings, has won me over completely.

If you are going to see it tonight at its international premiere at the Isabel Bader theatre at 7pm, I can only offer these three words to you:

Bring your tissues.

If you cry at one wedding, this one has more than enough to have you weeping tears of joy and sadness in equal measure.

Documentary filmmaker Doug Block took a little side job nearly 20 years ago to help make ends meet. Working in the cinema verite style, he would shoot weddings. For a short time, he would be allowed access to people on their most joyous of days, all to document their happiness.

He began to wonder, what happened to all of these amazing people after the sun went down on the ceremony, and came up on their marriage.

Setting out to catchup with some of his favorite couples, Doug documents where some of them are now. Asking what their expectations of marriage were, and what the reality is.

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It’s a statistical fact, that we know going into it, that not all of them are still together, but the ones who are, are the ones who are clearly devoted to one another, and realize that it’s a relationship that has to be worked at, that can change from one day to the next, and that love and laughter are required, dare I say, needed, in equal measure.

From the moment the marriage begins, life takes you on a journey together, and it’s not always good, there can be sick children, mental issues, unforseen tragedies, infidelities… all of these things can tear down what you believed could be so easily built.

Even visiting some folks who have been married over 15 years, and learning what has stayed the same, and what has changed is a revelation.

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There are many a beautiful moment captured in this film, and not all of them are from the wedding ceremonies themselves. Yes, it’s fantastic to see these people celebrating their love in front of friends and family, but it’s all the more touching to see them still together, years later, still holding hands, with an undefinable form of support, love and trust there, that one who hasn’t been married cannot properly describe.

What Block has made is a moving and joyous film that celebrates not only the wedding day but the beauty of the marriage that survives, because it becomes very apparent that…

anybody can get married, but not everyone gets marriage.

I finished the film, as Doug records number 112, with a big smile on my face, and started wondering about not only what my wedding would be like, but the marriage that follows it.

If you miss it tonight, or are playing on seeing it again… 112 Weddings screens on the 26 at 11am at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, and a final time on the 29th at 1:30 back at the Bader.

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