U.S., 2018, 102 min, 2K DCP, Dir. Peter Bogdanovich, Not Rated, Cohen Media Group
“Buster Keaton is the essence of movies.” – Werner Herzog
“What the movie really deserves is an audience of younger fans, to whom Keaton will be barely a name, and who may not realize that screen comedy, at its gravest and most athletic, peaked so soon.” – Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
Wildly ambitious, visionary, fearless and more physically gifted than any comedian before or since, Buster Keaton is revered and beloved, an enduring icon. And yet we barely know him. Peter Bogdanovich’s soulful tribute pulls us close. First, he reveals Keaton’s too-strange-to-imagine childhood - he was treated as a projectile as an infant, and as a toddler was a veritable vaudeville star. We follow Buster’s unstoppable rise to fame. And then we see the cruel late decades of obsolescence and commodification. In a brilliant twist, Bogdanovich then takes a third-act backtrack to Keaton’s 1920s highlight reel: an unimaginably fertile nine-year creative burst rivaling that of any artist, in any medium, in any era. Bogdanovich weaves an exquisite, bittersweet epic, pulling equally from heartbreak and pleasure; each crystalline moment connects us to the purest, most enduring of performers. Telluride Film Festival.