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Reality 15

Tina Satter, USA, 2023, 83m.

On June 3, 2017, 25-year-old Reality Winner returns from running errands to find two FBI agents at her home in Augusta, Georgia. An Air Force veteran and yoga instructor, Winner spends the next two hours being questioned about her work as an intelligence contractor – specifically, whether she leaked a classified document about Russian interference in the 2016

U.S. elections.

With all dialogue taken from the FBI transcript, Reality tells the tense, mesmerizing story of what transpired inside Winner’s home that afternoon. As she navigates the federal agents’ questions, Winner is revealed to be a fairly typical 20-something: She treasures her pets, loves to travel, teaches CrossFit, shares selfies on social media.

Reality examines truth, power and the U.S. legal system through the lens of one intimate, disconcerting and very real encounter, provoking conversations that endure long after the final frame.

The Garden Cinema View:

Reality transcends its stageplay origins to create something subtly original. The central ‘trick’ of the dialogue is loaded with implications concerning authenticity and artifice in true crime filmmaking, and generates a creeping sense of voyeurism. At times this distracts from the central drama as, arguably, the film is more invested with a general investigation into the truth claims of cinema. But aided by excellent performances, stylish flourishes, and a fascinating (and troubling) real life case, Reality succeeds as a low-key thriller as well as a formal exercise.

Sydney Sweeney, Josh Hamilton, Marchánt Davis

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