Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Directed by: Mike Hazard and Deb Wallwork
C. Beck is a short documentary on woodblock print artist, Charles Beck. The short explores his work in regard to technique and attitude, and ventures to make a statement about art in general.
This film was the PBS Independent Lens Grand Prize winner. The Independent Lens festival is a short films online submission festival that accepts films in the genre of animation, comedy, drama and documentary.
While there were some interesting visual techniques used in this short, for the most part I was distracted by flaws. One huge flaw occurred when the filmmaker was attempting to film Charles in his car. Apparently he fashioned a red flannel shirt against the car window to minimize glare. But then, in the middle of the shot the shirt fell. I was completely distracted by Charles’ attempt to re-hang the shirt that I fell out of the story.
Following typical documentary form, this piece attempted to make a narrative out of a real life event. This is an interesting idea. Documentaries claim to be true stories, or “documenting” real life events. But this begs the question, is simply documenting even possible? The mere construction of the narrative falsifies the content.
But back to the short film genre in particular: I have to wonder if an attempt to document the entirety of a man’s career in 7 minutes is a fair construction. On the flip side, I was ready for this film to end quickly after it started. I cannot yet determine whether it was the subject matter that bored me, or the lack of depth to the story. There was only so much time, and therefore, the short documentary did not delve into the heart of this man’s story. It simply skimmed the surface. It is this that brings me to the conclusion that I do not know that the short documentary is effective, as it does not allow for any depth, that possibly results in an unfair construction of a person’s story.