Letter to the Editor – Director, Alan Berliner

Well this was my last film of the festival and sadly it was the absolute worst. Avoid this film at all costs. Alan Berliner makes very personal documentaries many of which have received awards but most of which are films I would have zero interest. I really don’t need to gain insight into the personality of the film maker or his views or prejudices. This documentary was billed as being about the end of newspapers and was to focus on the New York Times (NYT) as an example. I was intrigued but as the film starts you realize this is a documentary about Berliner’s collection of photographs he has cut out of the NYT over the last 40 years. It is sort of weird that he did this and catalogued them under multiple categories but nonetheless he really could have done something better with the movie. The 1.5 hour film is almost entirely made up of these images – hundreds of them – with Berliner talking over them about almost anything that came to mind, like how he experienced tear gas exposure personally and advice on how to cope if you are, to food choices to occasionally something about the NYT. It was boring to the max. It also contained all sorts of sound bites he has also collected which were unrelated to the photographs for the most part and mostly were really irritating. For example he had several – well many pictures of people screaming. So of course, these were accompanied by the sound of people screaming. It was loud, annoying, unannounced and in some cases prolonged. It was so loud and irritating that I had to cover my ears. I hope you are getting the message – don’t watch this movie ever.

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