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concordia 18/04/2017 - 04:00PM

Reflective Images: Thoughts on the CP Concordia screening of Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson

Kirsten Johnson in CAMERAPERSON

Renowned French film theorist André Bazin categorized filmmakers as those who “put faith in the image, and those who put their faith in reality.”

American documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson has put faith in both with her compelling first feature documentary.

CAMERAPERSON is Johnson’s beautiful visual memoir of her life lensing some the documentary world’s most dynamic socio-political docs. Released in 2016, the award-winning film is a compilation of raw, unedited footage from hand-selected moments of the filmmaker’s 25-year career. With no more information given than a time and a place, the clips bring us across the world, from Bosnia to Texas, exploring slices of birth, death, war, love, and lives lived.

The footage is juxtaposed in a pleasantly interruptive way: the stellar editing keeps mystery and magic squarely in the moments, that is to say in the present and beauty of those moments.

Cinema Politica Concordia screened the film on Monday, Mar. 27. The screening attracted an eclectic mix of film students, filmmakers, documentary fans and the curious who remained in deep focus for the duration of this captivating cinematic force.

The film left the audience sometimes gasping, sometimes laughing, and sometimes completely silent with our respective thoughts. 

Johnson joined the audience via Skype for a post-screening Q&A and was greeted with a boisterous, heart-filled ovation from the audience the moment she appeared on screen.

The discussion that followed added more layers of complexity to her film, and as Johnson probed crucial documentary issues like ethics and gender, her children Viva and Felix periodically joined at her side. A certain pet rabbit even made a cameo towards the end of the Q&A.

The filmmaker discussed her approach to cinematography and filmmaking, her regrets, her ongoing fascination with people, and her reflections on the future of documentary filmmaking.

On behalf of the Cinema Politica Concordia team, we’d like to echo our audience that night and thank Johnson for the deep beauty and stirring reality her images have captured and the contemplation they provoke when deftly placed together in the stunning and unforgettable CAMERAPERSON.

(Danielle Gasher) 


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