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Hot Docs 2016 Review: Cameraperson

For a documentary where the subject only appears sparsely towards its conclusion, Cameraperson is the most personal film at Hot Docs.

To documentary film lovers, cinematographer Kirsten Johnson needs no introduction. She has shot some of the most politically charged, divisive, yet visually arresting documentaries in recent history, including Citizenfour, The Invisible War, and Darfur Now. Here she turns the camera on herself (though not literally). The footage pieced together into striking vignettes in Cameraperson are cobbled from the cutting room floor of her storied twenty-five year career and her own life story.

The clips of her own ailing mother, shortly after her Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and the interview with a teenage girl in an abortion clinic in Alabama are remarkable highlights that will undeniably leave an imprint on viewers long after the film has ended.

Those looking for a straight-forward form of storytelling will not find it here though, and thus may find the film jarring as a result. Yet for those seeking a poetic tome on the nature of memory and a quietly moving depiction of a notable woman’s life, then we urge you to see Cameraperson, a feat of dazzling film-making.


[star v=4]

Leora Heilbronn

Leora Heilbronn is a Toronto based film aficionado who has a weakness for musicals and violent action flicks. She can often be spotted reading a wide range of literature or listening to show tunes.