2012 Victoria Film Festival Guest Review: The Visual Language of Herbert Matter

Visually exciting but no emotion — Review by Kathleen Gilbert, Film Commissioner Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission

Kathleen Gilbert- Film Commissioner, Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission.

The Visual Language of Herbert Matter — “What makes a great artist is someone capable of creating a body of work that can communicate with the masses…” so we are told in this documentary on the amazing career of Herbert Matter. The same, I would suggest, goes for filmmakers. Although this film gave me a new appreciation for the immense and diverse body of work of Matters, it did not give me enough personal information about him to feel any emotional connection, what so ever.

The film is replete with fascinating never-before-seen vintage film footage, beautiful photographs and inspiring graphic design. The filmmaker makes a very valiant attempt to liven up the still photographs with visual effects and some interesting editing, but it just isn’t enough to keep you engaged for a full 90 minutes.

The film is interspersed with talking head interviews, most of which are almost sleep-inducing in both delivery and editing. The one exception is the interview with the head of archives at Conde Nast Magazine. His interview is fascinating, educational and entertaining. There are some other high points in this documentary. The short montage of Matter’s work is visually exciting, and the last five minutes of the film include an interview with his son and grandson that give us a moving, although brief, look at the personal and family life of Matter.

There is no denying that Herbert Matter was one of the most talented and under-appreciated graphic designers of our time and if you are an artist of any medium, but especially a photographer or graphic artist, you will want to see this film. Does this film communicate with the masses? I don’t think so — it is just too long and slow moving.

 

Thurs. • Feb. 9 • Odeon Th2 • 9:30pm

Director: Marc Bisaillon

Québec • 2011 • 91 min • HDCam

 

Review by Kathleen Gilbert, Film Commissioner Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission

Just Posted

Powerfully Piaf: Musical tells chanteuse’s life story

Multimedia French cabaret show March 20 at the Royal Theatre part of a worldwide tour

CRAFT BEER COUNTDOWN: Victoria Beer Week 2019 nearly upon us

Monday beer columnist Mathieu Poirier revels in this learning and tasting extravaganza

REVIEW: Trojan Women a brilliant downer at the Phoenix

UVic theatre program does a good job interpreting Greek tragedy, wrtes Sheila Martindale

Emerging Sooke filmmaker takes spotlight with special award

Mary Galloway creates her own opportunities

Government House gala a great time to announce new Langham Court season

Production chair Alan Penty unveils 90-year-old theatre company’s plans for the coming year

What is Democracy? takes another crack at Sooke

Awareness Film Night feature set for Feb. 28

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

Seedy Saturday blossoms at Victoria Conference Centre this weekend

Speakers cover wide range of topics, including how to utilize small spaces for gardening

Port Alberni production tells real stories of casual racism

Divided We Fall coming to ADSS and the Capitol Theatre

Most Read