Went to see Finding Vivian Maier last night at Film Streams. Its an ok movie built around two fairly interesting stories. The only problem is the movie had a hard time deciding which one of them to tell.
The first story is that of Vivian Maier, the eccentric nanny of the Chicago Northside who spent her days walking the city with the children in her care, taking thousands and thousands of often amazing photographs but then hiding them away.
The second story is that of John Maloof, the Chicago area resident alternately described as a “historian and collector” or a “real estate agent” (he may have even published a book on “making big money prospecting for-sale-by-owner properties”, but I’m not sure that’s the same guy) who stumbled into Maier’s work at a storage auction.
At best, Maloof (who co-wrote and co-prodced the film) is a guy who was genuinely inspired and intrigued by Maier and has made a mission out of promoting her work. At worst, Maloof is an opportunist who happened to stumble into a large collection of great photographs and is exploiting it for personal gain. Or maybe Maloof is a guy who was working in the hyper-competitive and often soulless field of real estate, and saw his discovery of Maier’s work as his chance to get out and transform himself and his life into something with more meaning.
The rest is at my blog...