First-person documentaries, especially those with a messy confessional streak, are all too often the cinematic equivalent of brain-dulling junk food. Yet they manage to consistently hog the spotlight from their thoughtful cousins: the essay films. Chris Marker is the world-renowned master of the latter, and a host of younger filmmakers follow in his footsteps. One of the most intriguing, Memphis-born Lynne Sachs, studied painting and poetry before discovering filmmaking as a grad student at the S.F. Art Institute in the '80s. In the ensuing years, she's found herself inexorably drawn to casualties of war. From Vietnam to Bosnia to Israel, Sachs has made evocative and unflinching films that probe the tense nexus where global politics bloodily collides with everyday lives. Now based in Brooklyn, Sachs makes a rare return visit to the place of her artistic epiphany with "I Am Not a War Photographer," a spoken-word rumination on her resolutely non-newscast approach augmented with great chunks of her ephemeral, profoundly touching films. Part of Other Cinema.
Sat., Oct. 20, 8:30 p.m., 2007