And more new movies . . . .

Two pieces in this week's Jewish Week, my second Tribeca festival round-up and a compelling third feature from the Argentine director (and novelist) Lucia Puenzo. I haven't seen her second film, The Fish Child, but on the strength of XYY and The German Doctor, I have to add her to the list of significant talents at work in the New Argentine Cinema right now. (And I really have to read her novels.)

And one more recommendation: last night the b.w. and I watched Finding Vivian Maier, a documentary by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel. Maier was a completely unknown street photographer who worked as a nanny in the Midwest in the 1950s-'80s. Maloof sort of stumbled across her work during an auction in the winter of 2007and became fascinated by the mystery of a supremely gifted photographer whose name was completely unknown. He posted some of the images he acquired on his blog and began filling in the blanks. The resulting film is occasionally frustrating (Do we really need yet another use of high-speed time-lapse footage to indicate the inexorable passage of time? Why do so many documentarians feel the need to





 Vivian Maier in a self-portrait


withhold identification of interview subjects in the first couple of reels of a feature?), but ultimately a rewarding, even charming piece of work. Maier's enormous output of images -- she seems to have been obsessive in her shooting practices -- is its own best defense, and her story is alternately disarming and alarming. It becomes clear in the second half of the film that for all her seeming benignity, she had some pretty pernicious inner demongs, but Maloof and Siskel have a pretty good grasp of tone so the film is neither condescending, pitying nor sentimental in its handling of the mysterious protagonist. Well worth a look, either in a theater or, as we saw it, VOD.



Comments