Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Forgotten Silver

My friend Spike Nesmith has repeatedly, over the years, asked me to check out some of the early films of Peter Jackson. "He's more than hobbits and King Kong," I'm told, to which I politely chuckle. In my world, Jackson is the maker of blockbusters dependent upon computer generated magic and make-up.

I read the Lord Of The Rings, after all. I don't want some D&D nerd fucking with how it looks in my head.

And then I saw Forgotten Silver.

Jackson's 1995 made-for-TV production tells the story of Colin McKenzie, a forgotten pioneer of film technique and production.

It was a teen McKenzie who first developed sound and color film, and who created inventive camera techniques while shooting his silent epic, Salomi.

After finding McKenzie's films locked away in a chest inside an old shed, Jackson and a team of filmmakers document the restoration of McKenzie's work so that it might receive the attention and honor it deserves.

There is one swerve: not a single frame of what looks like a documentary is real. It's simply Jackson's homage to inventive creators of the medium, and to silent film and movie making.

Forgotten Silver is more than entertaining. It's tightly written, well produced and never sells out on the documentary concept. It's simply brilliant.

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