Hot Docs 2016 Review: ‘The Man Who Saw Too Much’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Hot Docs 2016 by - April 29, 2016
Hot Docs 2016 Review: ‘The Man Who Saw Too Much’

The Man Who Saw Too Much


The film follows famed Mexican photographer Enrique Metinides, who has spent his life documenting death, tragedy, and violence. At the age of 9, he acquired his first camera. At that time, he became curiously fixated on capturing crime scenes and accidents. This curiosity led him to a role as an unpaid assistant at a Mexican tabloid when he was 13. Being a fan of American and Mexican cinema, the visuals on-screen shaped his way of seeing the world around him.

In a world where many have become desensitized to photos of catastrophes, violence, and other dark aspects of life, Metinides images are both poignant and impactful. Director Trisha Ziff includes interviews with Metinides, his daughters, other Mexican photojournalists, Red Cross Staff; as well as others who were present or involved in some of the ‘events’ Metinides captured in his photos. There are also others in the film who see these images as a form of art. Their combined thoughts make for some interesting points of view on Metinides and his work.

His works adds an interesting commentary on how violence, tragedy, and death are part of our everyday life. Dan Gilroy, director of Nightcrawler, also appears in the film. Gilroy also makes a good point about how different the media coverage in the US is from Mexico with respect to violence, death, and tragedy. As he puts it, it’s like in the US, media would rather not show people the reality of the death, violence and tragedy in their towns.

Throughout the film, we come to know Metinides as a complex individual. From one perspective, it appears he may not have had time to fully process all of the things he witnessed. He appears young in some of his interests (collecting toy fire trucks and ambulances), while at the same time, having some deep insight into life, death, and his own mortality. There is much to be said about Metinides’ work, the artistry of his images – how they point out the frailty of the human condition, our sense of despair in the presence of death or tragedy. The film is a look at Metinides and his work, but it is also about our sense of security in our everyday lives.

The Man Who Saw Too Much screens three times during Hot Docs.

Tue, May 3 3:30 PM Hart House Theatre

Thu, May 5 9:45 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

Sat, May 7 12:45 PM Hart House Theatre

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Heidy has a love of fine art history, films, books, world issues, music and science, leading her to share her adventures on her website ( , and as a contributor at other outlets. She loves sharing the many happenings in Toronto and hopes people will go out and support the arts in any fashion possible.