Flashback to one of my favorite films from Hot Docs 2014. Wonderfully edited, it is a poignant window into the lives of three teenage boys and the town in which they live: Rich Hill, Missouri. Each grapples with severe socioeconomic disadvantages of one shape or form, and thankfully the filmmakers go beyond the surfaces and allow us to know them, learn from them, feel for them, and care that much more about them. Though most reviews are positive I was surprised to find a number of writers criticizing the film's visual splendor and aesthetic grace. Here's a passage from Roger Ebert's review that addresses these criticisms. Couldn't say it better:
One of the first things that deserve to be noted about “Rich Hill”—and that may make it controversial in some quarters—is its beauty. Any description of the film that only describes its people and events would largely miss what it feels like to experience it. From its first moments, when several jump-cut shots of a teenage boy getting ready for school give way to lyrical views of Rich Hill as it comes to life in the morning, the combination of editing rhythms, Nathan Halpern’s music and Palermo’s strikingly luminous images conjure a world that seems to pulse with its own inner warmth and radiance.
This afternoon I walked around Berkeley Marina, saw many snails, and as I looked out at the water I felt I had stepped inside this JMW Turner painting. The atmosphere was awash in hazy sunlight, but through my eyes it swirled around a heavy core of sadness: Orlando.
Sparse highlights from the great spinning sphere of publication.