Finding Vivian Maier
Directors: John Maloof, Charlie Siskel
Heralded as a masterful street photographer of the 20th Century after her death, Vivian Maier’s exquisite snapshots of human life brimmed with beauty, compassion, and sometimes the subtle ugliness of human nature. Her work would have never been discovered had it not been for Maloof’s curiosity in purchasing a lot of negatives from an auction for a project he had been working on.
Maloof (who tells most of his part of the history in a disarmingly confessional way) and Siskel search for answers about Maier’s mysterious background. The former nanny and housekeeper worked for a pre-fame Phil Donahue, constantly tried to hide her true identity, and was a pain in the ass to as many as she was beloved. But none of those people knew that the hoarding Maier had also shot thousands of rolls of undeveloped film and had a stash of over 150 home movies.
A compelling untold story, the mystery of Maier’s true identity informs the journey of the person making the film. It’s masterfully constructed (with a stellar musical score to support) and it gets surprisingly dark as it goes on. It’s more than just one portrait of an unheralded artist, but rather the only one, and it’s doubtful that another would be needed any time soon given how thorough this one turned out. (Andrew Parker)
Monday, September 9th, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3, 4:45pm
Tuesday, September 10th, Scotiabank 8, 7:15pm