Jacques Cousteau's World Without Sun is an obscure documentary about how Cousteau and his team inhabited an underwater village. It was an extraordinary scientific experiment. They built an underwater habitation to see what would happen, to see whether they could live underwater for weeks on end.
When Father Was Away On Business" is one of my favourites of all time. It's a beautiful film about an extended family in Yugoslavia, presenting this wonderful world surrounding one family alongside a potent political allegory. The story is very moving; it's about a man who is removed from his family, his wife, children and grandparents, because he is suspected of being a political agitator. It's set in relation to a communist regime very like latter-day East Germany. The guy's brother-in-law is a member of the Communist Party and he is informed on by him. It's about a family put under terrible pressure.
Not only are they two different genres of film, but they couldn't be further apart; the documentary is non-political and non-confrontational, in stark contrast to the potent fiction with its strong political allegory. Plus the Cousteau film is a particularly lyrical documentary, when you most often expect a documentary to be more political than fiction.
For me, the problem with double bills is how they make you watch films. It goes back to film school and film festivals; inevitably, you begin to obsess over the comparisons and contrasts between films and their modes of storytelling. They shouldn't be analysed on anything other than their own merits. It's a philosophical point of view - it's about wanting to see a film in the purist possible way.Reuse content