In the interview with director Errol Morris that’s featured on the Criterion blu-ray of Vernon, Florida (a double feature alongside Gates of Heaven), Morris reveals the unlikely origins of this documentary. Originally intended as an expose on insurance fraud in this small town, known as “Stump City” due to its inhabitants having a predilection for cutting their own limbs off to get some cash, when asking around Vernon, several people persuaded Morris that he might want to look elsewhere. If you get the meaning. He instead decided to just film a selection of people in the town, letting them ramble on about whatever the hell they want. The result is far stranger, and likely far more captivating, than the original story would have been.
March is a pretty exciting month, and one thing in particular makes it a notable outlier — in fact, almost a theme month: a heavy emphasis on documentaries. Fully half of the releases are docs, including three from the master of the form, Errol Morris. Plus, we get a classic Bergman, a weird old noir, and a Truffaut film. Pretty great, all told.