"I'm not black, I'm not white, not foreign, just different in the mind. Different brains, that's all," explains 15-year-old Billy in Jennifer Venditti's provocative coming of age film. ...
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"I'm not black, I'm not white, not foreign, just different in the mind. Different brains, that's all," explains 15-year-old Billy in Jennifer Venditti's provocative coming of age film. Billy's intuitive commentary and intimate verite footage reveal a unique attitude as he responds to a painful childhood, first time love, and his experience as an outsider in small town Maine. By turns humorous and disturbing, this portrait challenges the viewer to understand a triumphant teen on his own terms.Written by
This film demonstrates the depths to which the documentary medium has sunk. Documentaries should be about exposing emotional and/or socio-political truth through reality. In the same way that it was Welles' tragedy to make 'Citizen Kane' as his first film, it is the documentary genre's tragedy that it was effectively created through 'Nanook of the North'. For many years, documentarists tried to keep pace with Flaherty, or, like Dziga Vertov, create an albeit inferior alternative.
Eventually, they gave up and succumbed to the talking head as the purveyor of truth. The only thing talking heads purvey is words, and words are not the prime medium of expression in cinema.
'Billy the Kid' the film is as sad a case as Billy the Kid the person. The film relies on obsessive immediacy in the same way that Billy relies on obsessive subjectivity. There is not, as far as I can remember, one time in the film where anything is communicated by the placement of the camera or the arrangement of the content of the frame.
With Flaherty, it is completely the reverse, it is difficult to find images that are not primarily giving us truth through the placement of the camera. Of course Flaherty *arranged* his films, he scripted them and they were 'acted', not made 'on the hoof'. But there is more emotional, and ontological truth in every scene in Flaherty's work than in the whole of 'Billy the Kid' and a hundred nonentities like it.
The film doesn't even try to be visually expressive. It is television and it has the same relation to the art of the cinema as an average magazine article has to the art of literature.
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