Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gathr Preview Screening: The Other Shore

Up until a couple of weeks ago, this weekly trip to the Regent involved me getting off the bus, grabbing some take-out from Elton's, and then sitting in the open space around the corner from the theater and opening the laptop for about forty-five minutes. Now, it's too dark to do that, so I'm walking down Mass Ave for a bit and finding some food.

In related news, Retro Burger makes a good cheeseburger.

There were a few people in the audience this time, and maybe if that number picks up, the typical steps I execute before actually sitting down will feel less like going through the motions. After all, even tough I'm paid up through December, I still go to Gathr's site, reserve my seat, go through another couple of pages to actually print out my pass, which I hand over to the guy at the Regent's box office. He gives me a ticket (by now calling me by name), which no usher rips. Granted, I like having stubs to put on TWIT pages, but it's kind of crazy, isn't it?

Funny thing is, someone from Gathr wrote me the other day asking if I'd like a free ticket to next week's Big Sur, like I wasn't already a big chunk of their audience. (Granted, the answer would have been "yes", because new Michael Polish film.)

The Other Shore

* * ½ (out of four)
Seen 8 October 2013 at the Regent Theatre (Gathr Preview Series, digital)

"Are you a swimmer?" asked the man at the ticket booth who knew full well I was there because I had a season pass for this film series. I said I wasn't, and he pointed out that even in that case, Diana Nyad was "an inspiring story. An inspiring story." The funny thing is, I'm not necessarily sure director Timothy Wheeler felt that way by the time he finished his documentary on her attempt to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys after turning sixty.

She had tried it before, back in 1978, when she had made a name for herself not just by winning races but for completing other marathon swims. She retired soon after, moving into broadcasting and not setting foot in the water for almost thirty years before announcing her intent to try again in 2010, at the age of sixty. This is not a thing to be attempted lightly, although her trainer and longtime friend Bonnie Stoll thinks that the mental aspect may be the most important, and Diana has that in spades.

Perhaps too much so. There comes a point in activities like this where the challenges go from "risks" to "dangers", and the way Nyad continues to talk herself into pressing forward certainly seems to cross the line from admirable daring to something that feels more like hubris by the time everything has been said and done. Stoll certainly seems to think so - or at least, that's the impression she givesin the final edit. It makes for an uneasy last act, as the audience can feel a movie that started out with the intention of being inspirational becoming a cautionary tale. It's a shift which is kind of fascinating and unexpected, but the ending doesn't really satisfy either; the end of the narrative literally happens alongside the closing credits, leaving no time for Nyad, Stoll, and company to ruminate over what it means.

Full review at EFC.

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