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More Big Joy – The Adventures and Life of James Broughton

Film Review

independent film, entertainment, film festival, film events, film reviews

By Ron Merk

I regret that I didn’t get a chance to interview the filmmakers who created this film which I reviewed during the recent Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco.

But there’s a really good interview with the directors at the following URL: http://www.indiewire.com/article/outfest-interview-big-joy-directors-stephen-silha-and-eric-slade-talk-about-capturing-the-spirit-of-poet-and-filmmaker-james-broughton

It’s definitely worth reading, and gives a great deal more insight into Broughton, himself, and the filmmakers, Directors Stephen Silha and Eric Slade, and their process for bringing to life one who no longer habitates the same sphere as the rest of us.

Capturing the spirit of someone else, especially one who has passed on, is always a daunting task, more often to fall short in the “capturing” department. However, as I watched the images of Broughton, his friends and family, as well as clips from his rich, wonderful experimental films flash on the big screen of the Castro Theater, I can way without hesitation, that his spirit was alive and frisky and trickstery (if there is such a word) for as long as the light was passing through the film, frame by frame, and being projected not only on the screen, but in some ways, into our hearts and minds. Even afterwords, Broughton’s humor, work and life left all in the audience with a kind of glow, and perhaps asking ourselves, “what have we done today to bring ourselves joy?

Such is the power of film to affect, teach and touch us. No other art has this power. Yes, I’m going out on a big limb of aesthetics to say this, but films gives us image, sound, emotion and the ability to be touched by an idea that we would have never had ourselves.

Congratulations to the filmmakers once more for bringing this illuminating vision to the world, and for reminding us that we all the the potential for finding joy, even if it isn’t in the “over-the-top” way of living things that was the daily modus operandi of James Broughton.