Of the four films I am seeing at the Wellington film festival, two are documentaries. And those two documentaries are all about competition and the desire to win.
These themes were evident in The King of Kong, a documentary following the attempt to beat the world record score on the 80s arcade game Donkey Kong. On the one hand, there was the challenger striving to prove himself, and on the other, the defender determined to retain his title.
Unlike Bigger, Stronger, Faster*, The King of Kong was a fairly biased view, pitting the laidback family man Steve Weibe, a recently redundant man with a lifetime of disappointment behind him, against the self-important ultra-patriotic incumbent champion Billy Mitchell. The audience is in no doubt who we are to root for, with the portrayal of Mitchell as scheming, secretive and determined to retain his crown at all cost, pushing everyone firmly into underdog Weibe’s camp. Weibe gets more screen time, his family are involved more, his friends are consulted; Mitchell gets to utter a few self aggrandising lines, his wife’s pneumatic breasts get a few minutes to heave, and Mitchell’s workmates and co-gaming enthusiasts are all the character references he gets on screen.