Another Great Documentary for the Snowy Day
As another winter storm has us held in its midst, you may find yourself spending another snow day at home. Snuggle up under your blanket and check out the film Half-Lives by Maisie Crow, an ONWARD Summit speaker and fellow photographer. We recently showed the film in our Inspiration and Vision class, which prompted a lot of discussion on Crow’s process.
Her short piece tells the story of Slavutych, a forest-carved town created after the Chernobyl disaster. Using a mixture of photography and video, along with a few intimate interviews, Crow is able to conceptualize the life and community of this surrogate ghost town.
What makes Crow’s film so visually appealing is her multimedia approach. From the fixed images, the viewer is able to perceive the stillness of Slavutych, as well as contrast it to the memories of a vibrant, rose-filled Pripyat. Similarly, while the video camera slowly moves along the subject’s face, a portrait comes to life. As a whole, the filmmaker’s approach seems to do the town and its inhabitants justice, by highlighting their hope and ability to survive amongst the bleakness.
How do you feel Crow’s process adds to the storytelling of Slavutych? Why do you think Crow chose different visual mediums for different images, and what do they communicate to the audience? Would the film have worked the same way had she used all video? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
And if you enjoyed Half-Lives, check out Crow’s other multimedia film, “The Last Clinic.” While not free, it is an affordable $3.99 to buy!