It’s hard to comprehend exactly how a guy could get away with making a two and a half hour film called Sherman’s March about southern women and himself but that’s just what Ross McElwee did with his 1986 indie doc classic. The film treads the line between documentary and mockumentary with relative ease and keeps you smiling along the way. The film begins like a PBS special, an ominous voice over a map showing the route of Union Maj. William Tecumseh Sherman’s infamous march toward the sea, noting its residual impact on the formerly confederate states. However, the film quickly shifts direction when McElwee explains how he has just received a grant to shoot his historical documentary about Sherman’s March but, because his girlfriend Ann dumped him the day he planned to begin filming, decides instead to join his family on an annual wilderness retreat. Thus begins Ross McElwee’s epic and lustful journey to court–or at least explore the subject of–southern women.
Posts Tagged ‘Ben Elliot’
It’s hard to say what Being John Malkovich is really about. I guess that’s often the case with well written films and this is certainly one of them. It’s about being married but in love with another who doesn’t love you back. It’s about what it means to be a puppateer, an actor or, for that matter, a writer. It’s about what it would mean to occupy another’s skin emotionally and even plays at what the metaphysical implications of such phenomena might be. Yet Kaufman (writer) is able to navigate all of these subjects daftly through one of the strangest plots ever to achieve success in Hollywood.
With Being John Malkovich, Kaufman wrote one of the most structurally inventive screen-plays of our time, yet, rather than feeling enigmatic or foreign to viewers, it’s fun. The story is hard to summarize, as you might imagine, but I’ll try here for the sake of whoever still hasn’t seen it. (more…)