Although it bears certain thematic similarities to Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood — other than titles that contain the H-word — Elan and Jonathan Bogarín’s far superior 306 Hollywood has nothing to do with the film colony. When their grandmother Annette passes away in the New Jersey house she’d lived in for seven decades, Elan and Jonathan decide to catalog everything Annette owned — more specifically, everything she didn’t throw away — in hopes of getting a better sense of who she was. She was never a closed book, however, as they also have 10 years of videotaped interviews in which Annette was down to talk about whatever.
As Michel Gondry-ish as a film can get without being directed by Michel Gondry, 306 Hollywood takes on a myriad of subjects, including the persistence of memory, how we work through grief, and how consciousness and life itself are ultimately a matter of physics and the immortality afforded by thermodynamics. Relentlessly inventive without ever quite edging into whimsy, the picture is hardcore research porn. As such, it’s a tribute to the twin, equally noble callings of archiving and librarianship, as well as a paean to the importance of cataloging and subject headings. Perhaps not coincidentally, 306 Hollywood is also one of the best documentaries of the year.
Not rated. Opens Friday at the Vogue Theater.