Actors: Vivian Maier
Director: John Maloof, Charlie Siskel
Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
DVD Release Date: July 29, 2014
Run Time: 90 minutes
Finding Vivian Maier is a compelling cinematic documentation of young filmmaker and amateur historian John Maloof’s discovery of a never-discovered photographer from the past. Maloof purchased boxes of Maier’s work at an auction, without knowing what he had bought. This purchase led to an investigation and he discovered that she was a nanny who did street photography as a hobby over the course of her life. The work and the unraveling of this mystery is the strength of the film, while the interviewees can be more of a distraction and irritation.
With over 100,000 photographs taken over the course of her life, there is plenty of work to be displayed in this documentary. These images are often far more powerful than the revelations about Maier’s personality. There are some condemning aspects of her personality that find their way to light, but the filmmakers almost seem to shy away from delving too deep into her personality deficits in favor of her talents. On the other hand, it is difficult to know how much you can believe from the children that she once cared for. Even these interviews can be oddly paradoxical, praising Maier one moment, criticizing her the next.
The special features may actually be of more interest than the film itself for some fans of her work. There is a photo gallery, an extra which has never been more suited to a film, as well as Maier’s audio recordings and Super 8 footage.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance: 6/10