Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Back to business: AFI's Guggenheim Symposium

Ok, now that I've recovered from my trip to the dark side ("Friday Frivolity") I can get back to serious work. Thursday night I attended the Guggenheim Symposium at the AFI Discovery SilverDocs festival, where I was wowed by the body of work by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, the honorees and stars of the event. Sen. Al Franken, their subject  in "Al Franken: God Spoke" started the show with a series of refreshingly hilarious, self-deprecating remarks. I was dying for him to break into "Stuart Smiley" just one last time, but that milieu didn't lend itself to shout-out requests. He introduced a film compilation of the prolific team's body of work, films about a very young Bob Dylan, Carole Burnett, Al Gore, John DeLorean, Bill Clinton, James Carville. Their films are like poetry in the way that they capture a moment of time--simply as it is, for what it is. No tidy endings, no protagonist appeals to the audience to "like me, like me."

Their next project is a restoration of Richard Leacock's "A Stravinsky Portrait". The filmmaker captures Stravinsky's intensity, passion and the joy he finds in his work just by filming him talk about it. If you want to catch a little Hegedus and Pennebaker for yourself, go see "Kings of Pastry" running through Saturday. Click here for a clip.

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