Saturday, September 05, 2009

of the
Part 10

I recently
the follow-
ing film for
Video Librarian, and thought the results were worth sharing.

(Michael Jacobs, US, 2007, 88 mins.)

Note: slightly revised from the original text.

The Bay Area has produced numerous filmmaking entities ov-
er the years, notably George Lucas, but Richard Grazowsky
is something else altogether. A Pentecostal pastor based in San
Francisco, he receives a message from God to make a multi-
million-dollar movie, and sets out to fulfill that mission.

As he explains, "The message of Christ was to dream big," so he
sells his house, solicits donations from parishioners, forms What
You See Is What You Get Filmworks, and embarks on an epic his
producer bills as "Star Wars meets The Ten Commandments."

With the aid of wife Sandy,
kids Sunny, Misty, and Rocki,
and dozens of other collabora-
tors, Grazowsky produces a script, a set of storyboards, a cast, and an array of outfits, but shooting proves more difficult than expected.

Though his mother, Marilyn, from whom he inherited his posi-
tion, doesn't participate, she grudgingly offers her support, ad-
ding, "He's a sweet man...very naïve." She could be describing
everyone involved with Gravity: the Shadow of Joseph, except
for the trained cinematographer, who walks out in frustration.

Using a fly-on-the-wall approach, debut helmer Michael Ja-
cobs, a fan of the Maysles Brothers' Salesman, follows Grazow-
sky from pre-production in Northern California to filming in Italy
to the point at which the money runs out—and the lawsuits roll in.

Though Grazowsky strives
to become a secular George
Lucas, his indefigatable en-
thusiasm, combined with a
neglible talent for filmmak-
ing, aligns him more closely
with Ed Wood of Plan 9
from Outer Space infamy.

Special features include deleted scenes, a clip from the still-un-
finished film, a song ("Second Wind") by Gazowky and his family,
and smart commentary from Jacobs. A strong recommendation.

Click here for Movie of the Month, Part Nine: Global Metal

Endnote: Though I'd imagine Michael Jacobs is unrelated to
Ken Jacobs (Star-Spangled to Death) and Azazel Jacobs (Mom-
ma's Man), I've added him to my list of Jacobs to Watch. Images,
including Charlton Heston as Moses and Johnny Depp as Wood,
from The New York Times, The Washington Note, and Flixter.

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