Pin It
Favorite

True Characters 

Two documentaries give us a look into interesting lives

click to enlarge "Cavedigger" is nominated for an Oscar for best short documentary.
  • "Cavedigger" is nominated for an Oscar for best short documentary.

Two short documentaries, each of which runs about 40 minutes, are included in this program, and each of these films introduces us to a memorable character.

“Cavedigger” by Jeffrey Karoff points its lens at a man named Ra Paulette, who carves caves out of the soft, ubiquitous sandstone found in northern New Mexico. It seems a singular artistic endeavor, even if it evokes visions of the Anasazi cave dwellings that dotted the area centuries ago.

What Paulette carves, however, seems better fit for use as cathedral than domicile. The carvings take years to complete and feature passageways, soaring walls into which designs are carved, and skylights that allow a person to have the anomalous sensation of being deeply underground yet exposed to the heavens. It goes without saying that Paulette is a man possessed by his visions — more an artist than a structural engineer, though what he does shares elements of both.

The program’s other film is “Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall,” by Edgar Barens. Hall, a decorated soldier and POW during World War II, now spends his days in prison for life after murdering the person who sold his son drugs. Hall’s heart and lungs are failing, and we observe the last couple of weeks of his life as he’s moved from the infirmary to the prison hospice. A rare thing, this prison hospice is an exemplary model with its rogues’ gallery of life-term murderers who function as the unit’s loyal, sensitive caregivers.

Both documentaries feature intriguing characters, though they share a similar tendency to indulge their subjects. Tighter storytelling would probably enhance both shorts, but they receive extra credit for introducing us to characters who remain vivid after the lights come up in the theater. ♦

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • Keep it Like a Secret
  • Keep it Like a Secret

    Little Accidents is an emotionally devastating look at how we handle death
    • Jan 21, 2015
  • Un-Friend
  • Un-Friend

    Jennifer Aniston is excellently depressing in Cake
    • Jan 21, 2015
  • To the Mat
  • To the Mat

    Foxcatcher gives us Steve Carell in a creepy role, but not much else
    • Jan 14, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Powerman 5000, HED (PE), Knee High Fox

Powerman 5000, HED (PE), Knee High Fox @ The Big Dipper

Sun., Jan. 25

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Marjorie Baumgarten

  • Tough Living
  • Tough Living

    Tommy Lee Jones' The Homesman is a Western loaded with historical realities
    • Jan 7, 2015
  • The One Who Knocks
  • The One Who Knocks

    Why an Australian indie called The Babadook became one of 2014's creepiest films
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Film


Review


Music


Tribute


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation