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It’s a great, relevant question, but that never came up. I don’t know why. We just kind of ignored it, almost unintentionally siloing things. The memoirs have an unconventional structure at times, but they’re still relatively conventional as far as the way in which they were written, the way in which they’re put together, whereas the movie is very unconventional. We were mainly thinking about, how do you tell a story, how do you make a documentary that doesn’t rely on tried and true documentary tropes?
I used to be a judge for Tribeca Film Festival documentary, and I was a judge for the International Documentary Association, their music documentaries. I’ve watched a lot of music documentaries, and some of them are wonderful, but they’re all kind of the same. I’m not maligning the world of music documentaries, but they tend to be chronological, some archival stuff, some new performances, tons of interviews with people telling you why the subject is interesting, as opposed to showing the subject being interesting. So director Rob Gordon Bralver and I just thought, okay, let’s dispense with almost every conventional documentary narrative device and see what we’re left with. If we want to tell a story, instead of saying, “How do we interview someone?” say, “What weird thing can we do that we think is interesting?”
There are a lot of themes that come up in this film, and one of them is looking back and confronting the person you were at different points in life. Did it feel different doing that in a cinematic way?
That’s ultimately the goal of the movie, and whether anyone will take this away with them from watching it, it’s looking at the human condition as represented through one person and their story. Looking at fear, shame, anxiety, the mistakes made as a result of being a part of the human condition, and hopefully coming to a place of resolution.
Aging is part and parcel of the human condition, if we’re lucky. Or if we’re not lucky. Aging is either the blessing of staying alive or the curse of staying alive. It’s hard to take it personally, as is true with a lot of other aspects of the human condition, like watching the people around us get sick and die, sliding into quasi irrelevance. It’s just the nature of things, becoming less attractive, becoming less sexual, becoming diminished by the criteria of youth and beauty. But it’s okay, because it happens to everybody. Hopefully there’s a degree of acceptance that can come along with that.