Saturday, May 19, 2007

Saw episode I of Flying, some pre-review notes

Saw the first episode (of 6) of Jennifer Fox's documentary Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman last night. These are some initial positive thoughts regarding the movie, will write & publish a regular review of the work after I've seen all 6 episodes, which I hope to do before the July 4th premiere of the film in NYC. Flying is unlike any movie I've seen before, and I mean that in a good way (perhaps Tarnation was kind of like this, but I have not seen it): filmmaker films her own life and events in the lives of a few friends as they unfold, and discusses some very personal issues: sex, marriage, having or not having kids, divorce and separation and issues related to the aftermath of those events, a serious illness, also on going romantic & sexual relationships. Not only does it take a tremendous amount of bravery and confidence to attempt to make a film like the one Fox has made, it also takes, I imagine, extraordinary organizational & directorial skills in order to get other people and yourself to share dramatic and deeply personal moments on camera. Episode I is drama with a capital d from start to finish. Very engaging, a good thing that the music was light (reminded me of the score to Amelie) and the main character (Fox herself) is likable and has, among various other attributes, a light quality to her personality. At moments I wondered if the film is going to be kind of like a visit to a foreign country for me; since, being male, whatever conversations among women that I had been present at could have been shaped to some degree by me simply being there and in Fox's doc I get to see all female conversations filmed by a woman or several women; with no direct male involvement as far as I can tell. But in episode one I did not hear, see or learn anything about the female experience that I did not already know about or imagine to some degree, but, for other male audience members, the situation may be different (since, as a filmmaker & screenwriter I've had to actively think about female lives at length in order to create believable female characters in my movies and this is not something that most men would have to do). Anyway, gender aside, the film is a compelling & engaging drama. I need a little bit of a break before I watch episode 2 since I am still digesting the packed to the walls dramatic content of episode I, but I am definitely looking forward to seeing episode II and the rest of the show - the 5 remaining episodes. Flying (episode 1) is not dull, it's got a lot going on. Flying is good, so far.

- Sujewa

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