New to VOD this week:
INTENT TO DESTROY
Hot Docs, IDFA, Krakow, Maryland, St Louis, IFF Boston, San Francisco Jewish, New Zealand, Haifa, Heartland, Denver
A behind-the-scenes look at the making of a narrative feature about the 1915-1918 Armenian genocide.
Had Terry George’s THE PROMISE turned out to be a critical or box office success, this companion project by Joe Berlinger would be less of a misfit. As it stands, that would-be epic – starring Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, and Christian Bale – was little seen or admired, making this admirable but misjudged project feel like a DVD extra for an unlikely-to-be-released Criterion Collection version of an unwanted film. Saddled with the objective of filtering the controversial and long-denied ethnic cleansing through the lens of THE PROMISE, the doc never quite finds the right balance, with clips from George’s film and from the set too often serving as a distraction from the more interesting and provocative consideration of how denial has come into play over the past century, both in the historical record, and in past film projects, from the abandoned adaptation of THE FORTY DAYS OF MUSA DAGH to Atom Egoyan’s unsuccessful ARARAT – but, very strangely, nothing specific offered regarding efforts to stop THE PROMISE. Ultimately, Berlinger’s doc comes off as an overlong, too earnest promotional piece, despite its best intentions.