Saturday, April 26, 2008
On Friday, I saw "Mr. Edison's Ear" and "The Man Who Crossed the Sahara."
Mr. Edison's Ear was fascinating, like a talented teenager: it showed promise in many directions, but could not decide what it wanted to do. Starting with the notion that Edison's loss of hearing at the age of 12 profoundly changed the development of audio recording, the film makes the strange choice to end with a long recording of Rachmaninoff played over footage of the electrocution of an elephant. To me, a documentary that makes a claim to have historical insight needs more mastery of its subject.
I found The Man Who Crossed the Sahara remarkable, and recommend it highly, but I was left with many questions that detract from the main themes of the movie. I love films that leave room for interpretation, but the beginning and ending of the movie -- seemingly tacked on around a great central story -- left me confused.