The Legend of Wooley Swamp

What ever happened to nuance? Jabberwocky is being spewed up by the left and right as they try to drag us into their Wonderlands. This blog charts a path out of this swamp of simple truths and false certainties. And from time to time, it'll be a place for more light-hearted musings.

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Location: Palms - L.A, California

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Anya: 25 Years In Front of a Camera

Taking a breather from the usual commentary on things immigration and assorted beer suds, the Swamp today wishes to present a movie that he warmly recommends.

"Anya (in and out of focus)" is directed by Marian Marzynski and tells the tale of his own daughter's life. Basically he kept a camera around and took footage of her from the age of five onwards - they had just moved to the U.S. from Poland. While this may sound intrusive, it really does not come across that way. And that is also why I liked this movie so much.

At the screening at the DC Jewish Community Center (thanks JJY for keeping us informed), the director himself was there to field our questions. Anya had given her consent once she understood what was going on, and together with her husband approved of the final version. He also revealed that there was "only" 200 hours of footage. Over some 30 years, this is not that much. Still to make a coherent tale could not have been easy - and in this Marzynski succeeded.

This hard-to-find movie - there is not even an IMDB entry - is a simple, human tale. It speaks to so many themes: identity, growing up, diversity, parenthood, what to do with your life....It tells the story of one person's life without invading that person's privacy. And don't worry - it IS funny!

The Swamp particularly enjoyed the theme of growing up somewhere your own parents are not from. But like I said, it really is universal and does not focus too much on that or any other issue.

It may seem hard to imagine that Anya herself does not feel bared. So I asked myself afterwards: a) what am I thinking about after seeing this tale of one person's life and b) would I mind?. The first answer surprised me: I thought of my own life and less of hers. She was vehicle, and for that I am grateful. But it's not that I feel like I know her.

So I guess I wouldn't mind. Her father also told us that Anya never attends screenings since she doesn't want to answer questions. That would be too personal. She knows that the movie does not really show who she is, and that's why she was ok with it - for an alternative take by a ridiculous reviewer who had probably not spoken with Anya or her father, click here.)

Even if you have hated all other home videos you've ever seen: give Anya (in and out of focus) a chance. The director said there's a DVD out, but I have yet to find it online. So you best best to is to keep your eyes peeled.


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