MCN Columnists
Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Premiere: “Raising Bertie” On POV

Raising-BertieOne of my favorite docs of the year, Margaret Byrne’s long-in-the-works Raising Bertie, debuts on POV on August 28. A behaviorally rich and visually ravishing six-year immersion into the African-American North Carolina farming community of Bertie County, the rich narrative follows the lives of three young men approaching adulthood. “I love vérité filmmaking and telling stories that leave the audience asking questions,” Byrne told me for 2016’s Film 50 in Newcity, as she described her observational knack. “Having trusting relationships with the people I film is the foundation of making a story that honors their experience and is authentic. I worked on ‘Raising Bertie’ for seven years, so those families and that community are very close to my heart. I’m not interested in making easy films, I want to challenge myself and I want to challenge audiences.” The absorbing Raising Bertie rises to all its challenges.

Raising Bertie debuts Monday, August 28 on POV. Local listings here. Trailer here.

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“I never accepted the term contrarian. I think that’s offensive, frankly. And my response to that is: if I’m a contrarian, what are other reviewers? What I strive to do is be a good critic, not somebody who simply accepts the product put in front of me. I guess it scares people to think that they don’t have any originality; that they don’t have the capacity to think for themselves.

“There’s a line a lot of reviewers use that I don’t like at all. They say ‘accept the film on its own terms.’ What that really means is, ‘accept the film as it is advertised.’ That’s got nothing to do with criticism. Nothing to do with having a response as a film watcher. A thinking person has to analyze what’s on screen, not simply rubber-stamp it or kowtow to marketing.”m

“To me, everything does have a political component and I think it’s an interesting way to look at art. It’s one way that makes film reviewing, I think, a politically relevant form of journalism. We do live in a political world, and we bring our political sense to the movies with us – unless you’re the kind of person who goes to the movies and shuts off the outside world. I’m not that kind of person.”
~ Armond White to Luke Buckmaster

“One of comedy’s defining pathologies, alongside literal pathologies like narcissism and self-loathing, is its swaggering certainty that it is part of the political vanguard, while upholding one of the most rigidly patriarchal hierarchies of any art form.”
~ Lindy West