For the last 25 years, Louis Theroux has been making documentaries about life in all its strangness, mystery, and angst. Trying to make connections with people who are in different ways living on the edge. However, recently Louis has decided to take a pause and trawl through his old shows looking again at some stories that stuck with him over the years and to reach out to those he had featured to see how their lives have changed over the years. From all the hours of film, he has managed to tease out a handful of themes all of which in different ways go to the heart of what it means to be human in an attempt to figure out what he has learned about life and himself.
Episode 1: Beyond Belief
In the opening episode of this professional retrospective, Louis glances back on his earliest work and investigates how some people’s most intense convictions can lead them into strife with mainstream society. From his Weird Weekends scenes on survivalists and UFOs to his now-infamous film on the White Aryan Resistance in California (Louis and the Nazis), Louis has always been drawn to those whose beliefs seem unusual, confused, or, in some cases, abhorrent.
Episode 2: The Dark Side of Pleasure
From his memorable Weird Weekends episodes on rap to films about Las Vegas and the US opioid crisis, this episode examines the human tendency to jump to the dark side when seeking out pleasure.
Episode 3: Law and Disorder
In films such as Behind Bars and Miami Mega Jail, Louis spent time with hundreds of incarcerated men, discovering a world with its own rules and codes and a system that seemed to be broken. In A Place for Paedophiles, Louis came face to face with those responsible for serious sex crimes against children who were being locked up indefinitely, even after their sentences had been completed.
Episode 4: Family Ties
In his trilogy of films that centered around the Westboro Baptist Church, Louis explores the price the family was paying for its devotion to the distorted vision of its patriarch, Pastor Fred Phelps. With Pastor Phelps now dead, the family has been torn apart, some of its members are still utterly devoted, whilst others have left, forbidden from ever contacting their families again.
Directed by: Tom Barrow