Stream it or skip it: ‘Voir’ on Netflix, a series of essay videos produced by David Fincher about the magic and influence of film
We TV critics like to grind our favorite shows to a fine powder, looking for trends, symbols, clues, and other things we think real fans will see. But film critics and reporters take this to the next level, associating movies with the very essence of our species existence. At least that’s the feeling we got after watching Voir, a documentary that boasts David Fincher as one of its producers.
VOIR: SHOULD BE PARTICIPATE OR FORGET?
Opening scene: Narrator Sasha Stone sits in a dark cinema and looks back at a reenacted scene from her childhood.
Gist: Voir (or, as Netflix stylized, VOIR) is a six-episode series of short video essays about how the series has influenced the lives of the writers who penned them, as well as the narrators who read them out via voiceover (if they were different). . David Fincher and David Prior are executive producers, and they hire a number of directors and writers to produce these essays, which incorporate clips from the film or films under discussion.
The first volume, written by Stone, is about “The Summer of Sharks;” in other words, when Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster Jaw released in theaters in 1975. Stone told the story from a personal perspective, about how she and her sister would go to the theater to see it and stay there all day. She was only ten years old at the time, but she noted that Jaw rekindled her love of cinema because Spielberg not only shot the film perfectly, but he also told a great story.
But going to the movies was also an outlet for them, as her mother was in an abusive relationship that left them both self-absorbed. For Stone, that ability gives Jaw to sweep her away from everything that contributed as much to her love of cinema as anything Spielberg did.
In other episodes, Tony Zhou talks about Lady Vengeance and the matter of revenge; Drew McWeeny discusses unbelievable protagonists and Lawrence of Arabia; regularly Contributor decides Walter Chaw negotiations about 48 hours, movies about race and interracial best friends; Glen Keane on the standard of representation and beauty in cartoons; and Taylor Ramos talk about the differences between film and television during the first 50 years of television’s existence and how that distinction has shaped since. Sopranos Released 22 years ago.
What shows will it remind you of? If you take The movies that made us and make it in such a way that, more seriously, you’ll have Voir.
Our Take: Voir mostly sounds like a visual NPR story or something we might hear on a narrative podcast. It’s one of hundreds upon hundreds of parallels with the magic of cinema and the way it affects people’s lives. It pretends to be hell, but so does everyone else. But what we wonder is what Fincher and Prior are trying to accomplish with these video essays.
Some seem personal, others seem interpretive, and still others seem to be a combination of the two. But if Voir aimed at movie buffs, most of the explanatory content is old news.
Do we need to know that? Jaw was the first blockbuster, where the mechanical shark Spielberg used was badly damaged, and that the movie would look cheesy by 2020s standards? But Stone’s personal story about how the film helped her and her sister escape a dangerous situation at home is something we can grasp.
Previously, the director of this segment, having decided to show, not tell about the part through re-enactments, is in a way an interesting choice; he made a small film to explain the author’s attachment to Jaw. But it also plays out similarly to a reality show re-enactment, especially as the clumsy teen boys at the movie theater stare at Stone and her sister’s blouse.
The more explanatory details, the less impact. The TV and film episodes are particularly infuriating, with quick cuts between all the scenes shown from different productions in both media and Ramos at times sounding as if she’s rereading the word. a Wikipedia page rather than on her own observations and research on each form. In other words, she tells her audience things they probably already know, can easily study, or have read in thousands of thought articles over the years. What’s so special about bringing her into a dark movie theater or dark apartment to watch her watch these scenes while she makes those observations?
Gender and Skin: Not available.
Farewell shot: 10-year-old Stone (or the actress who played her) and her sister slept in their mother’s car on the way home from the theater.
Sleeper Star: We should at least credit Fincher and Prior for crediting each new clip, with title and director.
Most Pilot-y routes: When Stone was discussing the people queuing outside Jaw and named it “their movie”, before taking a picture of a group of nerds lined up in front of a movie theater to show Star Wars.
Our call: INSTRUCTIONS IT. While the video essay in Voir sometimes too much into the egotistical, dreamy imagery and insightful analysis that make this a compelling watch for aspiring critics, as well as audiences looking for new reasons. to watch classic movies like Jaw.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting, and technology, but he’s not kidding: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and others.
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