Sarah Palin – You Betcha!
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Sarah Palin – You Betcha!

Back to Palin basics? You betcha!

Nick Broomfield, Joan Churchill (UK, Real to Reel)

Sunday, September 11, 7 p.m.
AMC 7 (10 Dundas Street East)

Monday, September 12, 2:30 p.m.
AMC 6 (10 Dundas Street East)

Sunday, September 18, 10:45 a.m.
AMC 6 (10 Dundas Street East)

What do Kurt Cobain, S&M fetishes, Biggie, and Sarah Palin have in common? At some point over the past two decades British filmmaker Nick Broomfield has made a documentary about them. The latest takes him to Wasilla, Alaska, as he tries to uncover the real Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska and one-time vice presidential candidate (perhaps you’ve heard of her?). As the above list indicates, Broomfield isn’t exactly known for choosing subtle subjects, but here one has to wonder: why? Why now? Why Palin? Why bother?

While at times funny, Broomfield’s Sarah Palin – You Betcha! covers ground we’ve seen and heard before: Palin playing the flute on stage at a beauty pageant, Palin playing nice in interviews, Palin being put to shame by Katie Couric over her lack of knowledge of the print-based medium. Considering the rise of Michele Bachmann and Palin’s sinking poll numbers, Broomfield’s foray into American politics seems a few months too late. But what is fascinating is the portrait of Wasilla’s community that begins to emerge, from the local Berkeley grad, to the pastor who challenged Palin’s Evangelical Christian views, to the local gay rights activists (notably the only people interviewed who requested their full names not be used). The community itself seems so compelling that when the film returns to Palin, it seems a shame. Sarah Palin might come from Wasilla, but are there other stories in the town? You betcha.