When amiable inquisitor Louis Theroux chose to make a film about the American cult of Scientology (out this month, see review p177), the scientologists decided to make a film about him, too. So began a bizarre game of cat and mouse; film crews following film crews, with questions and awkward silences galore.
It takes more than that to faze Louis, though. Ahead of the film’s release, we take a tour of the best bits from his many ‘docuventures’.
Louis spends time in Nevada and Colorado, USA, with people defending the earth from aliens. One such hero is Thor Templar, lord commander of the Hostile Alien Resistance Movement, who has some Men In Black-inspired homemade weaponry.
Louis has a speaking but fully clothed cameo as a park ranger in porn film Snowbound, as he gets to grips with what it takes to make it in the world of adult film.
Professional Wrestling (1999)
Intrigued by the popularity of wrestling in America, Louis goes to the WCW Power Plant training facility. He casually questions the sport’s authenticity, which doesn’t go down terribly well with a trainer who then puts him through a brutal workout.
When Louis Met Jimmy (2000)
Before the world knew about the awful crimes of Jimmy Savile, Louis spent a couple of weeks with him, trying to better understand an eccentric TV personality. It was uncomfortable viewing then, and it’s even more so now.
When Louis Met Max Clifford (2002)
Clifford is now in prison for indecent assault. At the time Louis met him, he was master of the dark art of tabloid PR, able to make or break a reputation with a couple of phone calls.
Louis And The Nazis (2003)
US based Neo-Nazi group White Aryan Resistance made for one of Theroux’s most jaw-dropping subjects. Especially the two young girls who have been turned into a pop group called Prussian Blue.
The City Addicted To Crystal Meth (2009)
One of Louis’ bleaker, hard-hitting documentaries about the effects of crystal meth on the population of Fresno, California. His non-judgemental style of questioning allows him to get some very personal answers from the addicts.
Transgender Kids (2015)
Louis meets kids who don’t identify as the gender they were born with, and the families who surround them. It’s a complex subject, which is handled beautifully.