As a visually radical memoir, Cameraperson draws on the remarkable footage that Kirsten Johnson has shot and reframes it in ways that illuminate moments and situations that have personally affected her.
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Interesting to see the range of responses to this film here. I went into it expecting at least to be consistently engaged by the shot-making, and I was not disappointed on that score. Interweaving her own family life into passages from a variety of territories marked by trauma--war, rape, displacement, a mother's suicide--was a dicey move, but Johnson makes it work. The uplift is slight, the sadness stark.
Every aspiring documentarian should see this; a snapshot collection of illuminating moments that may not have the pristine cinematographic grandeur of Fricke's 'Baraka' and 'Samsara' but more than compensates through KJ's authentic integration with a variety of cultures and contexts. If you are a traveller, why not turn that hobby into an account of the smorgasbord of humanity?
Frankly over-rated documentary from cinematographer Kirsten Johnson who has made a self described 'self-portrait' by editing various scenes that she has shot together leaving the audience to interpret the impact and meaning. Some see this as profound but I see it as emotionally void and without much impact. Better off seeing the films she shot.
WHAT!???!!!!!!??? Is this "Cameraperson" everybody talk & praise, really???!!?!? I can't believe this is That "Cameraperson," I can't stand this pompous incoherence & fragmentarily discursive editing with which Johnson confuses cinematic technique like saying "Hey audiences, I put footages here so you interpret this as you like, Byebye!" I think this is "Suicide Squad" documentary version. Boring as hell.
Expected it to be profound. Concept is itself profound. Self-portrait via residuum. Think frenetic James Benning meets soporific Jonas Mekas, but very much an extension of popular documentary practices. What I was not expecting was to find a movie so sorta completely depressing and weirdly spiritually void. Life is unpleasant and a lot of work. Some pertinent stuff towards the end, however, of tremendous insight.
After reading the reviews here, I find I largely agree with people who liked it a lot, and yet the criticisms that objected to the sometimes rocky transitions and occasional lack of context resonated as well. But, in the end, was moved by much of the humanity she revealed, both hers and that of others. Makes me want to see more of her work.
I was ready to see a boring, indulgent collage of someone else's memories, but instead, I was surprised with an exciting, scarring, almost time-travelling experience (some scenes made me feel that I was right there and then... as if they were my memories). One of the most moving and strange things I've ever seen.
I guess a kind of response to the notion of the camera being objective, taking agency for the shots the filmmaker deemed unnecessary, which often coincide with moments of great human empathy behind the camera. A question posed of whether pointing the camera (or watching it) can be enough, and wisely unanswered. Less a memoir than exploration for meaning, of which I found plenty. Begs us to look, look, act.