2018-11-05T23:35:05+00:00Categories: Docs in Review|

Shirkers Director:  Sandi Tan. Watched on:  Netflix. Rating:  2/5.  A winner of the directing award in the World Cinema Documentary category at Sundance, and ranked high on Metacritic with a score of 89, Shirkers is a film viewers are clearly meant to love. Filmmaker Sandi Tan tells her story of growing up in Singapore while immersed in the New Hollywood indie movement of the early 1990s, an obsession that inspired her and a group of teenage friends to make a first feature, also called “Shirkers,” which garnered a good degree of publicity while they were making it. But after they wrapped, the footage ended up being whisked away by an older man, Georges Cardona, who was their advisor and director of photography on the film. Cardona told Tan he was taking the film to New York to transcribe and edit, but then he and the spools of hard-earned film vanished. Twenty-five years later Cardona’s wife discovered the footage and contacted Tan, who decided to repurpose the still-pristine reels into this, her debut film. Shirkers is more a story about DIY filmmaking and blocked creative passion than it is a mystery about Cardona and his ambiguous, Svengali-like influence over Tan. The making of the film within this film, and the tensions between Tan, her co-filmmakers, and Cardona, take up most of the first hour of the movie, as well as most of the air in the room. Blame it on Tan’s inexperience, or blame it on a documentary industry convinced that audiences don’t have the patience for [...]