Slowly but surely, I plan on posting about all the films I saw at last week’s Annapolis Film Festival. Previously I reviewed The Rewrite and Runoff. Today we’ll take a look at the first of four documentaries I viewed at the festival.
Two Raging Grannies (doc 2013) Håvard Bustnes
We meet 90-year-old Shirley Morrison (above left) as she’s driving her scooter along the sidewalks of Seattle, handing out clothes to the homeless. Later Shirley and her best friend Hinda Kipnis (who’s 86) go shopping for more items they can give to the homeless. Shirley is focused; Hinda, a bit cantankerous. “I love you dearly,” Hinda tells Shirley during the shopping excursion,”but we don’t see eye-to-eye on things.”
The Imposter (documentary 2012) Bart Layton
Many people avoid documentaries for several reasons: they generally consider them boring, slow-moving, poorly made, they don’t feature real actors… The list of excuses is endless (and not always unmerited). I’d like to challenge those folks who avoid documentaries to watch Bart Layton’s The Imposter, a film that singlehandedly could change the way you feel about documentaries. Seriously.
Life Itself (NF 2014) Steve James
Magnolia Pictures Blu-ray
Many people may not know that Roger Ebert had been working as a journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times for five months before he was told he had just been appointed the paper’s new film critic. I’m not sure that’s a position he would’ve necessarily sought out, but that new role changed his life and ultimately took him to places he’d probably never imagined. Life Itself is obviously about Ebert’s life, but it’s also tangentially about the wonder of life and how – when it’s near its end – we can look back on it in utter amazement.