Arsifa Deliyana

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Week 1 Video Diaries & Moving Images 2

The Imposter

The Imposter (2012) is a British-American documentary directed by Bart Layton. The film is about the 1997 case of the French confidence trickster Frédéric Bourdin, impersonated Nicholas Barclay, a Texas boy who disappeared at the age of 13 in 1994. The twisting story which built up by lies succeed making this documentary became one of the best film of 2012. This is a new form of true-crime documentary and stylish noir mystery.

The story begins when a boy was found in Spain, far away from home, saying that he has been kidnapped and tortured by shadowy captors. He ensured polices, people, and one family that he is the lost boy named Nicholas Barclay. The family believed and accepted him to live together in Texas till the situation became strange. Something wrong in the case of Nicholas Barclay.

Although the family accepted him, suspicion surrounded the person who claimed to be Nicholas. Questions were raised up about the differences before and after Barclay was found. How could the Barclay’s blonde, blue-eyed son have returned with darker skin and eyes? How could his personality and even accent have changed so profoundly? Why does the family not seem to notice the glaring differences? And if this person who has arrived in Texas isn’t the Barclay’s missing child . . . who on earth is he? And what really happened to Nicholas?

As a documentary, The Imposter offers amazing visualizations through interesting scenes of the real incident. It combines real footage and fiction resulting convinced-narrative. Confessional interviews with witnesses are visualized with strikingly creative re-enactments and suspenseful storytelling. The film involved asks the audience to play detective, pick the suspect and filter the truth and lie. This documentary carefully cut pieces gave us hints of mystery that raised questions that we would ask about the case, then slowly we found the answers in pieces of confession and scenes.



The Imposterfilm. (2012). Retrieved at





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