15 March 2006 | gardenluvnnurse
Saw this at Sundance 2006
Steven Cantor took almost 10 years to make this documentary on Sally Mann, the photographer made famous by her "pornographic" coffee table book titled: Immediate Family. Of course, this description is in the eye of the beholder, as I found the montage of pictures used from this book in the documentary to be absolutely beautiful. Mr. Cantor did a previous documentary on the backlash which came about following the release of Immediate Family by the conservative Christian Right, and wanted to make another documentary which really focused on Sally Mann the Photographer, her family, and every day struggles. Thus, What Remains was born. Sally's husband is afflicted with a rare nerve disease, and in my opinion, her latest work from 2004 is an effort to deal with her husbands inevitable death. She has switched subject matter from her children to nature scenes, but has a macabre fascination with decaying corpses, whether it be one of her beloved greyhounds, or bodies donated to a forensic lab in her home county. She gains access to one of these labs, and takes pictures of bodies in various states of decay. What sounds completely bizarre, turns out to be a really beautiful exhibit, which is counter-displayed by pictures of her now-adult children's faces, up close and personal, and still incredibly beautiful. Kind of a life vs. death type of image bombardment. The film documents her struggles to get her exhibit a showing, her husbands declining health, and her own personal doubts regarding her talent. According to the producer: soon to be showing on HBO. Not to miss. A+.