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directed by Edward Conna
USA 2012

 

Filmmaker Allen Bradley (Paul Dietz, STATE OF PLAY) and his camerawoman Amanda (Lisa Cullen, FOREST OF THE LIVING DEAD) have out to make a "where are they now" piece on former NFL hero Mark Chambers (Mo Anouti, TRANSYLMANIA) who has fallen on hard times after a career-ending injury followed by his divorce, child support for the beloved son he can only see via video chat, caring for his mother (who succumbed to cancer the year before), and a host of other bad breaks including losing his security guard job and being evicted on the day of the first interview taping. The first day finds Mark touchy of Allen's probing questions and wary about being made to look like a fool as he is asked about issues of gambling and alcoholism (which he vehemently denies). The next day, however, finds Mark taking the lead on a day he promises will be memorable for their film. He starts by pawning his Super Bowl ring for five grand (minus a couple bills he gives to the homeless couple that try to rob him) before going on a series of firsts including a roller coaster ride, his first cigarette, his first drink, and to finally find out if the guy he sees parked next to the neighborhood school is a pedophile. As Mark's settles his debts - including his life insurance policy - and muses about life and death, Allen cannot figure out whether Mark is falling apart or if he embracing and adapting to his new circumstances. As he and Amanda follows Mark as he embarks on another first - as the celebrity challenger in an underground fighting ring on which he has bet - Allen becomes torn between his curiosity and fascination with the directions his documentary is taking and his growing concern with a fallen idol who he has come to care about as a friend.

Although HERO OF THE DAY only calls its filmmaker/observer protagonist's motives into question as part of the framing device, the film would make an apt companion piece to the more reflexive A NECESSARY DEATH. Both films depict documentary filmmakers following their subjects on suicide missions - explicitly stated in the case of the latter - of different sorts with the audience and the filmmakers very aware that things are going to end badly (with the latter torn between filming and intervening and the former unable to look away). As the subject seizes control of the direction of the film, the filmmakers try to intervene (to less insidious effect in this case) but underestimate the subject's mental state and focus. Both films have tragic climaxes, but to vastly different effect. Performances are overall quite good - particularly the leads (although Cullen's is mainly aural) - and the faux-documentary aesthete is very well-maintained (with the coverage of the underground fight a modest triumph of staging and camera coverage), only noticeably taking stylistic license for sentimental effect (including moments where music supplants all other sound on the soundtrack). The end result is a refreshing change from the "found footage" genre or mockumentaries with more predatory filmmaker characters (even if one does not take everything the protagonist here says at face value).

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 5 December 2012 (USA)

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DVD Review: Cinema Libre - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Cinema Libre

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:34:36
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.33 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Cinema Libre

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with co-producer John Rogers (16:9; 4:43)
• Trailer (16:9; 1:55)
• Production Stills
• Trailers for 'The Castle Project', 'Heaven Strewn', and 'Living Things'

DVD Release Date: September 23rd, 2014
Amaray

Chapters 10

 

Comments

Cinema Libre's single-layer disc features a progressive, anamorphic transfer that seems to suitably render the blown-out highlights, the blur of the shaky-cam running and whipping pans, and exposure changes in naturally-lit settings of the film's faux-documentary aesthetic. The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track is heavy on dialogue and location sound with music sometimes overtaking everything else. Extras include a brief interview with the producer - in which he discusses star/producer Mo Anouti's concept for the film and self-funding, as well as director Edward Conna's direction of the actors which was heavier on the technical elements due to the faux-documentary staging - as well as a stills gallery, trailer, and trailers for other Cinema Libre titles.

  - Eric Cotenas

 

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Cinema Libre

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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