Monday, December 22, 2014

Finding Vivian Maier Surprised Me

John Maloof and Charlie Siskel have together directed their first film. And they have a great deal to be proud of.
When John Maloof bought an old chest full of negatives at auction, he had no clue the rabbit hole he was about to tumble down. Finding Vivian Maier is the true story of Maloof's search to uncover the  life story of the perviously unknown photographer he accidentally made famous. And man is this an interesting documentary.
I was surprised by this piece. There was something so wonderful about its ability to evoke a sense of comprehension of life. These stories are true. Somehow the people are completely understood in retrospect. And their perspectives are reminiscent of peoples' that I have known in my own life. I've seen hoarding too often from people in my time, but never been able to make sense of it. Yet, this film somehow seems to find that understanding by taking a step back and without judgement, connecting the dots. Certainly this film reaches to darker places than it seems to let on at first glance, but the moments of discovery... the breakthrough moments where things really come to light... seem worth everything else. I don't want to say more than I should. Vivian Maier's life is a weird sort of mystery that slowly gets uncovered like a puzzle. And it's both amazing and tragic to watch.
Apparently this is eligible for Best Documentary at this years Oscars despite boasting a 2013 release date. But then, the Academy's rules seem to make less and less sense the more you look at them. Anyway, I definitely understand why this film is considered of high enough quality for the award. And I'd recommend checking it out if you're at all interested in docs.

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