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A DIFFERENT DRUMMER: CELEBRATING ECCENTRICS (#HotDocs15 Review)

placeholderA DIFFERENT DRUMMER: CELEBRATING ECCENTRICS

Directed by John Zaritsky

There is an art to making a successful film about eccentric people. Errol Morris captured this art brilliantly in his 1981 film, VERNON, FLORIDA. Now, Oscar-winning Canadian filmmaker John Zaritsky tackles the subject of the eccentric in his film A DIFFERENT DRUMMER: CELEBRATING ECCENTRICS. The film follows seven self-labeled eccentrics living throughout Canada and the United States. Among them are Daniel, a Utah man who has abandoned the idea of money, choosing to live in caves and eat out of a dumpster. The film also depicts Laura-Kay, a woman who roams the streets of Vancouver with her duck, telling people their fortunes and giving money away to the homeless. The stories in the film are not connected in any way and each of the film’s subjects is given approximately ten to fifteen minutes of screen time. In this short amount of time, Zaritsky is rarely able to establish these people as characters in his film, instead leaving them as nothing more than spectacles.

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For a film directed by an Oscar winner, A DIFFERENT DRUMMER is surprisingly poorly made. The film has no sense of style, using different documentary tools throughout. At one point in the film, Zaritsky suddenly decides to use reenactments on and off for about ten minutes, before abandoning this style completely. It can at times be a mildly entertaining film, but it lacks the substance of a great documentary. Not only is Zaritsky’s output disappointing, but he simply has no thesis for his film. One cannot just film clips of strange folks and expect it to work as a cohesive film.

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A DIFFERENT DRUMMER: CELEBRATING ECCENTRICITIES screens at the HotDocs Canadian International Documentary Festival, as part of the Special Presentations program.

Screening Schedule …

Sunday, April 26, 8:45 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox

Tuesday, April 28, 2:15 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox

For more information and for tickets, please visit hotdocs.ca.

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