52nd Chicago International Film Festival Screening #4: “One Day Since Yesterday” (USA)

“One Day Since Yesterday: Peter Bogdanovich & the Lost American Film” (USA)
Directed by Bill Teck

5660ab3867ef0-imageThis will be brief, as the the print we screened was, apparently, not the final cut. There was missing music, some of the interviews had not been corrected for audio, and other noticeable issues that are understandable given presentation of an, as yet, unfinished film, so I don’t feel it would be fair to review the overall film-craft.

That said, this bio-doc about Peter Bogdanovich, and more specifically, his relationship to Dorothy Stratten, before, during, and after the making of his largely forgotten comedy, “They All Laughed”, is touching, heartbreaking, and filled with the adoration Bill Teck obviously feels for his subject. And as a retrospective, it will remind you of just how much Mr. Bogdanovich’s movies are part and parcel of our cultural memory-banks.

As part of the festival, the great director (and “Sopranos” psychoanalyst) was in attendance…sitting directly behind me, in fact, which made some of the incredibly personal, and not necessarily positive, aspects of the film a little uncomfortable…voyeuristic, perhaps. He had to leave the theater during the moments that directly related to Ms. Stratten’s murder and his reactions to it, reminding me that there is no statute of limitations for grieving. Forty years on, he still could not even be a cinematic witness to the reminiscences of a terrible, terrible time in his life.

There are some problems with the film’s through-line; he adores his subject with a little too much reverence where it could have used just a bit more objectivity. And his reliance on photos (and his choice to shoot those photos with a jittery handheld camera effect) is a little heavy, especially since his interviewed bits are fantastic…especially Jeff Bridges, who is just so incredibly delightful and interesting and weird. So, too, is Quentin Tarantino, who conveys such excitement and glee at the prospect of being given the opportunity to talk about a movie he clearly loves and a man he truly admires.

When it is completed, it will be a nice addition to the canon of films about filmmakers, especially as it relates to the emotional makeup of the man. As a stand alone doc, however, I feel it might be less successful. We’ll see.

Written on 10/17/2016

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