Our SxSW reviews keep right on rolling, and we are happy to feature a movie from a filmmaker who was here a few years ago with a terrific documentary called TOWER. DEAR MR. BRODY is director Keith Maitland’s latest feature.
DEAR MR. BRODY (United States, dir. Keith Maitland) ***1/2 out of ****
Imagine for a second that you were given a $26 million inheritance. The world was your oyster. What would you do with this sudden wealth? Buy a house? Travel the world? Blow it all on candy and records? For Michael Brody Jr., a kid in the 1970s who suddenly came across this fortune, this millionaire decided to give away the money to anyone who asked in the hopes that some kind of peace could come out of it and (as they would say in the era) stick it to the man. It was a helluva time for the counter-culture and of course you would have someone try to mess things up with a lot of cash in the right places.
Of course, people flock to him in New York and anywhere where they can find him to request a token of his riches, but what’s more fascinating, and where filmmaker Keith Maitland (TOWER) new doc really takes off were the letters that were written into Brody. We got letters. We got stacks and stacks of letters! (Yes, a David Letterman reference there.) Countless people wrote letters from all over the world and were sent to Brody and were not answered. A good portion of DEAR MR. BRODY is a group of people who decide to open the unanswered messages to find out more about this story. Even to this day there are unanswered letters, but eventually they will all be read!
Featuring an outstanding mix of archival footage, audio interviews intercut with some clever re-creations and a powerful mix of editing in the letter reading sequences, DEAR MR. BRODY is a fascinating investigative doc into to the real motives behind Brody’s hustle but also a love letter to a totally different time, and the story takes some fascinating turns that I would not dare spoil. A total treat of a doc and absolutely worth seeking out.
This film and many others like it will be showing at the virtual South By Southwest taking place March 16-20th. For more information and to register for the festival, point your browser to www.sxsw.com!