The filmmaker finds himself in frequent conflict with his son, who is no longer the delightful child the father loved, but an argumentative young adult who inhabits virtual worlds available through the internet. To the father, the son seems to be addicted to and permanently distracted by those worlds. The filmmaker undertakes a journey to St. Quay-Portrieux in Brittany where he worked one spring as a wedding photographer’s assistant when he was 24 – slightly older than his son is now. He has not been back to St. Quay since that visit, and hopes to gain some perspective on what his own life was like when he was his son’s age. He also hopes to track down his former employer, a fascinating Frenchman named Maurice, and Maud, a woman with whom he was romantically involved during that spring 38 years ago. Photographic Memory is a meditation on the passing of time, the praxis of photography and film, digital versus analogue, and the fractured love of a father for his son. –Venice Film Festival
Ross McElwee took the basic precepts of cinéma vérité and personalized them to create a unique form of documentary making that earned him much acclaim and several awards. His work is almost always autobiographical and he often films himself at some of life’s most personal and awkward moments, though usually within the bounds of decency and good taste. Though there are many who feel his documentaries are too slow-paced, detailed, or abstract to be appreciated, there are an equal number of fans who love slowly being drawn more deeply into his world. The three feature films most representative of his style are also his most famous: Sherman’s March: A Meditation on the Possibility of Romantic Love in the South During an Era of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation (more simply known as Sherman’s March), Time Indefinite, and Backyard.
A native of Charlotte, NC, McElwee earned his bachelor’s degree from Brown University and, a few years later, earned a master’s in filmmaking from the Massachusetts… read more