In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink – an essay about the importance of snap judgments and ‘thin slicing’ – there is the story of John Gottman, a psychology professor who spent a large part of his career as a marital psychologist. Gottman claimed that he could study a three-minute video of a married couple interacting in his lab and subsequently predict with high accuracy whether they would stay together or eventually divorce. Apparently micro-expressions on couples faces and their attitude towards criticism and defensiveness etc. was enough to extrapolate a forecast. This research came flooding back to me within minutes of watching a new documentary about married couples, ominously titled 112 Weddings.
Alongside his filmmaking career, Doug Block has spent over twenty years filming weddings as a way of making money on the side. Somewhere around the 100 mark he began to reflect on the nature and purpose of this ancient ritual, as well as wondering what happened to the couples that he had invested such time and energy into. This led him to make contact with some of his favourite couples and to follow up on how their marriages were going, with both poignant and tragic results.