We welcome Joe Stringer, 18, from Into Film‘s Young Reporter Programme to the Picturehouse Blog. He writes on recent Discover Tuesdays title Weiner.
Weiner is a brilliant piece of documentary filmmaking focusing on a protagonist whose life provides a story that resides somewhere within the netherworld between hilarious comedy, bitter tragedy and unbelievable farce.
Elyse Steinberg and Josh Kriegman’s film is a candid documentation of disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner’s bid to win the 2013 New York City mayoral race – a campaign that is marred by the ongoing ‘sexting scandal’ that Weiner is involved in.
From the offset, the protagonist’s huge personality lights up the screen. His sizeable ego and effortless charm hurls him to the centre of every situation he finds himself in. At no point is this more apparent than in a Ferris Bueller-esque street procession scene in which he leads a parade through a packed NYC street wielding a huge flag and embracing members of the public. However, once the smoke screen of Weiner’s showmanship begins to disperse, an insurmountable fatal flaw comes to the fore that sets in motion his Shakespearean fall from grace.
The titular character possesses an apparent immunity to the bullying and press onslaught that surrounds his campaign (presumably from going through the education system with the name Weiner). However, his long suffering wife Huma Abedin seems not to share this trait. After being exposed to repeated public humiliation, Abedin’s brave face gradually becomes less convincing. She appears to be genuinely crushed by the unerring pursuit of her and her husband by the press and the unrelenting focus of the public eye. On several occasions the camera lingers upon Abedin for several seconds, her expression communicating the damage that is inflicted upon her in a manner that is visually nuanced yet unavoidably powerful.
The filmmakers were granted untrammelled access to the public and private life of Anthony Weiner. The result is a fascinating portrait of a man who is undeniably his own worst enemy. This intriguing cocktail of side-splitting comedy and genuine pathos passes no judgment; rather, it leaves the viewer to make up their own minds about the morals and lessons of this case study. I was left on the verge of crying: I think they were tears of laughter. I’m not sure.
Joe Stringer, 18
“First and foremost a lover of film, I am also 18 years old. I’m hoping to pursue a career as a filmmaker and my favourite movie is Memento.”
Into Film gives young people aged 5 – 19 the chance to watch, make and learn about film, both in and outside of the classroom. From after-school film clubs, filmmaking competitions and the world’s biggest film festival for young people to the annual Into Film awards and the chance to interview actors, directors, writers and more through the Young Reporter Programme, it’s all waiting to be discovered at www.intofilm.org.