Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:34 pm 
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Capsule review

A documentary about the filmmaker's great-grandfather, Jacques Bolsey, a Jewish Russian refugee who emigrated to America. We learn about Bolsey and his famous invention, the "Bolex" portable movie camera, a design that became a classic and favorite of filmmakers looking for quality and portability. Alyssa Bolsey makes good use of a recently discovered archive - a family attick loaded full of Bolsey's inventions and papers - to explore the inventor's, and the invention's, history. Alyssa Bolsey devoted her life to this project for a dozen years, and it shows in the depth and richness of information provided in this fascinating film.

Bolsey was of Russian Jewish origin, but emigrated to Switzerland at an early age. His original name was Jak Bogopolsky. His runaway creativity as an inventor may have been against his own interests financially; in any case he was never after wealth. His greatest invention was the portable 16mm. movie camera known as the Bolex. It's like the camera version of a Swiss Army knife, a durable, handy, infinitely flexible tool that has inspired many photgraphers in their early work, some experimental ones throughout their careers, and it is still manufactured today. Some who used it: Bruce Brown, Jonas Mekas, Darren Arronofsky, Stephen Speilberg, Christopher Nolan, Wim Wenders, Ridley Scott, David Lynch, Michel Gondry. And that's that's just a few. It's used in filmmaking classes at the New School. And on and on.

Beyond the Bolex, 80 mins., with a 52 min. Arte version, was released at DOC NYC Nov. 2018. Screened for this capsule as part of the SFJFF 2019.
SFJFF showtimes:
Thursday July 25, 2019 6:00 p.m. CineArts
Saturday July 27, 2019 6:05 p.m. Castro Theatre
Sunday July 28, 2019 3:25 p.m. Albany Twin
Saturday August 3, 2019 6:25 p.m. Smith Rafael

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