Hot Docs 2017 (longer version under the title SHINERS)
Edmonton, Socially Relevant, Hot Springs Doc, Sarajevo
Shoe shiners around the world talk about their profession.
Tenenbaum’s upbeat film cuts between colorful shiners in far flung places – including New York City, Toronto, La Paz, Tokyo, and Sarajevo – allowing laborers often-ignored by both passers-by and even their own customers to have a voice. While some have actively worked towards making their profession viewed as more upscale, others still reckon with societal stigmas associated with working in the streets. Still, the filmmaker’s overall approach is celebratory, highlighting the positivity, independence, and even creativity that the job affords its practitioners. While well shot, and spotlighting some intriguing subjects, the film suffers from choppy pacing and includes a few shiners too many for its brief running time, with some profiles feeling unnecessarily padded and others underdeveloped.