February 8, 2004|My first was The Thin Blue Line in the winter of 1988. Working backwards, finding Errol Morris's first two films was extremely difficult in the years before DVD and the blossoming of the Internet as the world's finest rummage sale, but the picture made enough of an impression on me that I spent the next six months tracking them down. Gates of Heaven was a revelation, Vernon, Florida changed my life, and it didn't occur to me until much later that the obsessive process of finding them and the unexpected rewards of that search were similar to this filmmaker's process was, in fact, the profession (private detective) through which Morris made his living in the seven years between Vernon, Florida and The Thin Blue Line. (Vernon, Florida is just brilliant enough to be career suicide, apparently.) So while Vernon, Florida has become something of a Medium Cool for a new generation of film brats (All the Real Girls director David Gordon Green cites the work as one of his all-timers), The Thin Blue Line has become the moment that many point to as the definitive modern reintroduction to the debate about the matter of degrees that separates fiction from non-fiction cinema. The title referring to the line of law enforcement that separates civilization from chaos, The Thin Blue Line is almost better read as the line between fabulism trusted as fact, and fabulism accepted as fantasy.