Thursday, February 28, 2008

Joel Meyerowitz's Pop

I recently got my hands on the Joel Meyerowitz directed documentary Pop, a road trip film of sorts chronicling the journey of three generations of Meyerowitz men on the road. More specifically, however, the film reads as a visual journal of Joel's father Hy's battle with Alzheimer's disease. The film begins with Joel and his son Sasha picking their respective father and grandfather in Florida with the goal of bringing him to the Bronx to revisit his familial roots. As Joel states: "Our quest was to see if along the way the adventures and experiences we would have could stimulate his now rapidly failing memory." The film is at times poignant, funny and sad. The emotional strength of the film overshadows the filmmaking from a technical standpoint, which in this particular case is not inherently negative because the story is quite compelling.

You can see an excerpt from Pop here, and if you're so inclined, you can read a review of the film by This American Life's Ira Glass here.

Now that I'm thinking about it, it's kind of oddly coincidental that two of the most prominent color street photographers of the 1970's (Meyerowitz and Mitch Epstein) both made documentaries about their fathers. Epstein's film Dad recounts his father's failing furniture business in Holyoke, Massachusetts.