Monday, February 16, 2015

Oscar Documentary: Finding Vivian Maier (Capsule Review)

Finding Vivian Maier
Directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Released March 28, 2014

Most artists have an interesting story. Sometimes it’s conveyed in their art, and other times it has to do expressly with their personal lives. This past year, “Big Eyes” featured a story that mixed both, as a female painter lost all credit for her work to her selfish husband, who in turn earned a reputation for painting haunting big eyes. Another revelatory exposé comes in the form of this Oscar nominee for Best Documentary which showcases an immensely talented photographer, one whose work was only ever seen by anyone else after she passed away. Vivian Maier’s story begins when co-director John Maloof buys a chest at an auction and ends up with a staggering collection of her photographs. Piecing together her story from interviews with those she nannied for, including Phil Donahue, proves to be quite an enlightening and surprising process. Now, Maier has become a known and respected quantity, and it’s undeniably interesting to see that portrait come together. What the film possesses in determination it often lacks in pacing, but overall the documentary is eye-opening as a portrait of a person and her work. Watch it for yourself on DVD!


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