An enduring favorite book of mine is Number Our Days (1978) by Dr. Barbara Myerhoff. Our paths crossed without meeting. I graduated from the USC Department of Cinema Studies the very year she began teaching in the Department of Anthropology. Her book profiles an elderly immigrant community in Venice, California. It's a triumph of continuity and culture, an often funny, always deeply moving narrative about tradition and courage.
I was reminded of Dr. Myerhoff's book while watching TANNA, a remarkable feature - beginning today, 6/24 - made with the cooperation of and starring the Pacific Island Yakel tribe. For seven months the director and his family lived with these people, exchanged food, stories, ceremonies, laughter, pain and adventures. One day the Yakel men sung a deeply moving song about two lovers who dared defy the ancient laws of arranged marriage. TANNA is a cinematic translation of that song, an ode to the deliberate choice to protect and nurture old ways. THE STORY OF TANNA is a six-and-a-half minute short film about the making of TANNA. "One of the best...you will be surprised." -LA Times
MY DARLING VIVIAN - also beginning today - brings a woman erased into vivid focus, rescuing a little-known love story with heart-stopping poignancy. It traces the romantic, dizzying journey of Vivian Liberto, Johnny Cash's first wife and the mother of his four daughters. "An engaging and revelatory film that's also deeply affecting." -Hollywood Reporter
Beginning Wednesday, July 1st DENISE HO: BECOMING THE SONG. "As Beijing chips away at Hong Kong's freedoms, the Cantopop singer has become its emblematic figure - embattled, emboldened and unbeholden." -The New Yorker