In a sense documentarians are the blue collar workers of the
cinema world, doing the hard labor, getting their hands dirty dealing with
reality, confronting the tough problems to make sure the system works.
And so that's one reason why "The DocYard", the documentary series
at the Brattle Theatre, is
such a fitting name. Documentarians are the stevedores of the screen, a category of
filmmakers that the Boston
area is particularly rich in. The DocYard people have taken advvantage of this resource, and every Monday since June have
been screening outstanding recent
documentaries followed by a discussion with the filmmaker.
And in keeping with this belabored working class metaphor, this
week's entry is Patrick Shen's "The Philosopher Kings"
(2009), which investigates the lives and thoughts of those true wise men and
women of academia, the custodians. Poignant, deftly assembled, uplifting, and
uncompromising, it presents kind of rosier real life versions of the
difficult genius in "Good Will Hunting." Focusing on a Vietnam vet at Cornell, an aspiring artist at Cornish College
of the Arts in Seattle, a Haitian immigrant at Princeton,
among others, the film celebrates ordinary people who don't impress so much by
their words as by their deeds and lives. They quietly emerge from the background, mop
in hand, and demonstrate valor, virtue, and vision - the attributes that Plato
sought in his Philosopher Kings.
The show starts at 7 p.m. at the Brattle, 40 Brattle St, Harvard Square. The director will be on
hand to discuss.