These Amazing Shadows
Artwork and Review By: Daniel Albert
Day two of my Newport Beach Film Fest experience brought me down the documentary road. With all the amazing documentaries premiering at the festival picking the right one seemed like an impossible feat. Did I want to watch a group of extreme skiers brave the elements? Or would I prefer to learn about architecture and art? Hell I could have even watched a film about Santa Claus.
More than anything though I wanted to find a documentary that I could really connect to, so in the end I chose the one thing I’m most close to as a film critic: film. I decided that These Amazing Shadows was a perfect choice for not only me, but anyone with an affinity for film and film culture.
These Amazing Shadows is a loving film for film lovers. The film itself is about the history and importance of The National Film Registry, a list of American cinema treasures that portrays the diversity not only of film, but also of the American experience reflected in the movie industry. The movie is an amalgamation of anecdotes, interviews and timeless clips that come together to bestow upon audiences a true visceral experience for anyone in love with the silver screen.
The list of people involved in the film is reason enough to see it. Interviewees include everyone from Rob Reiner, John Waters and Christopher Nolan to Zooey Daschanel, Tim Roth and many more. In addition to directors and actors audience members get to hear from the preservationists themselves, adding to the overall scope of the audiences look into the importance of keeping and preserving American cinema.
The most impressive part of the film for me was the breadth of the clips shown. Of course the film showed the sprocket worn classics like Casablanca, It’s a Wonderful Life, and The Sound of Music but I was also surprised to find other films such as Blazing Saddles, Toy Story, and many more contemporary films. Not only that but the film (and the registry itself) also features many classic iconic pieces of film history, my favorite of which happens to be the Let’s All Go to the Lobby bumper that is such a classic bit of film Americana.
It’s hard to say if there is a group this film wouldn’t appeal to because in general if you’re going to the movies you love film, even if only in the tiniest corner of your heart. Wonderfully crafted by Paul Mariano and Kurt Norton this homage to the great history of American film is sewn together with the utmost TLC providing an end product that is not only enjoyable to watch, but also a film that spreads the message that film preservation is also essential to continuing the legacy of American culture.