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Review: Photographic Memory

By BRETT MICHEL  |  November 12, 2012
3.5 3.5 Stars

Near the conclusion of Ross McElwee's 1993 film, Time Indefinite, we witnessed the birth of his son, Adrian. In his latest first-person documentary, McElwee places the camera back on his son, sharing the focus in the continuation of a personal record of his life that began with 1984's Backyard. That picture opened with Ross commenting on photos of himself with his father, a successful surgeon who worried about his son as Ross dropped out of college and traveled to Brittany, where he landed his first photography job. Things come full circle in Photographic Memory, as Ross's concerns about his seemingly aimless, yet creatively vibrant son drives him to confront his summer in Brittany and return to St. Quay-Portrieux, where he lived when he was about the age that Adrian is now. Hoping to unlock not only the mysteries of his own past, but also to better understand the alienation he feels from his son, McElwee has forged another triumph in this portrait of fractured love. (Read Brett Michel's interview with Ross McElwee.)

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 See all articles by: BRETT MICHEL