El filme como memoria. Son retazos de los registros emocionales de la directora de fotografía, muchos de ellos expirando una humanidad dramática, trágica. Muy pocas de las secuencias de Johnson dejan indiferente. Desata además una serie de posturas universales como lo antibélico o la defensa por los derechos humanos. Más de un momento conmovedor, como la derrota de un boxeador, un parto o el quiebre tras cámara.
There is a slowly-congealing emotional logic to these chaotic fragments. The premise could have played out like a home movie or demo reel -- and at the beginning, it feels like it may be going in that direction -- but as it ramps up and really moves, the title transforms from a plain descriptor to a statement on the inextricable bond between observing and being human.
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.
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.
One would expect these images, torn out of the body of their respective films, to suddenly lose their power. Here, the opposite is true. I loved the initial randomness that slowly revealed patterns and themes. This could have been a total disaster, but instead it's a total humanistic masterpiece.
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.
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.