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  • Documentaries generally fall into two categories: just-the-facts-ma'am Jack Webb verite, or subjective, immersive me-and-my-camera-wanna-tell-you-a-story stories. In between the cracks, you find wonderful docs like Hollywood HAIR that achieve a kind of stumbled-upon poetry. Following the driftwood patrons of a Tinseltown barber shop and its hairdressers, Hollywood HAIR unfolds like a packet of long-lost love letters to those wide-eyed, open-hearted dreamers just off the bus and the aging ingénues whose glamor shots have faded in their frames. Filmmaker Juliet Snowden whittles down years of footage into an essential document about perception and reality, about looking the part and parting with the look that will never be achieved, though many die trying. A sweet, elliptical and lyrical film.
  • One of the biggest highlights of the New Orleans Film Festival was seeing the world premiere of the documentary Hollywood Hair and meeting the writer/director/producer Juliet Snowden. This bittersweet, honest, intense story of a tiny hair salon and all of the beautiful vulnerable folk that survive in that microcosm was very powerful. Listening to Juliet discuss her 10 year process of determining how to handle the material with respect, knowing how far to go, how much to leave out and allow the viewer to interpret for themselves was a great artistic gift. This is what I love about Film Festivals--the chance to see and feel stories that are delicate and unique!
  • Like the best non-fiction films, Hollywood Hair allows its subjects the freedom and the space to tell their own stories. Together, the film's band-of-outsiders cast of deep-discount hair-cutters, ex-cons, addicts and washed-up actors, weave a portrait of a community on the ragged edges of east Hollywood, a community that stubbornly maintains a sense of dignity, affection and humor. There's no obtrusive narration, no forced point of view. We truly care about these people, and the raw, hand-held, b&w footage in which their lives are revealed adds to a sense of intimacy that is sometimes discomforting but always compelling.
  • Director Juliet Snowden has crafted a wonderful portrait of the downtrodden folks that frequent a Hollywood Hair Salon. Beautifully shot in black and white by her husband Stiles to give it a timeless feel, the duo offer an uncompromising and equally touching look at the owner who acts as a valuable support system to the characters who show up from day to day.

    Poetic, funny, and quietly devastating at times, this is the sort of documentary filmmaking that embraces the individuals many of us tend to ignore on a day to day basis. Juliet Snowden obviously loves each and every person in this film and it shows in every frame. She has given me hope that the "milk of human kindness" still exists, even in a place as ordinary as a hair salon. A+
  • "Hollywood Hair" by Juliet Snowden is a labor of love, a portrait of a time and place that, by the nature of its execution, becomes a timeless story about Hollywood, about Los Angeles, and about what it means to be human.

    This is a documentary about a now-gone hair salon on Hollywood Boulevard, and about the disparate group of characters that convened there -- men and women that came together in the most incredible way human beings can come together, and connect; by building community, and friendship.

    At the center of the film is Tony Morales, who was the proprietor of this little salon. Tony is a humble man, a simple man, who has made a life out of this little place that he calls his own.

    Having lost most of the things in his life, Tony forged a family out of the characters that convened at his salon. And oh boy, are they characters -- people who pop on the screen, larger than life; characters that would seem outrageous and unbelievable if this were a scripted narrative.

    To touch on their stories here would take away from the experience of hearing, and watching them, tell us their stories themselves -- but let me just say that they are stories full of pain, but also full of love, and humor -- the lunacy and sorrow that makes up the daily fabric of our lives.

    One of my favorite moments in the documentary is when one of the patrons reiterates Tony Morales' motto, in regard to the strange and beautiful creatures that inhabit his world: "I can't change them, but I can give them a cup of coffee." What simplicity, what purity of existence. This is the heart of Juliet Snowden's documentary.

    From a creative standpoint, I admired Snowden's choice to let the people speak for themselves, and tell their own story instead of having narration, or title cards giving us information, etc.

    That was smart, because they clearly make the film; but also, by making this choice, and by the choices she made in rhythm and narrative, I felt like we were getting a clear picture of the filmmaker, the woman behind the camera –- and what it is that inspires her, and moves her. What makes her laugh, what makes her cry.

    Along with her husband and constant collaborator Stiles White (who is a producer on "Hollywood Hair" and participated in getting many of the interviews), Juliet Snowden has gone on to have a successful career as a working writer in Hollywood, having co-scripted the films BOOGEYMAN, KNOWING, summer 2012's horror hit THE POSSESSION, and an upcoming film based on the popular "Ouija" board game -- but this documentary is a snapshot and a love letter of a time when she came out to Los Angeles, to put down her roots and find a place to call home.

    "Hollywood Hair" is full of life, and vigor, and has that timelessness that is rarely found in documentary cinema, which seems so much to be of a current moment. This is not that.

    "Hollywood Hair" has a place, a solid one, in the annals of Hollywood lore, and I cannot wait for people to discover it, in the near future, and long beyond.
  • janigurl17 October 2012
    9/10
    Wow.
    Hollywood Hair is a beautiful, gritty, warm and searing documentary that exposes the proverbial underbelly of Hollywood with an exquisitely unique eye. Every detail, from delivering the images in black and white to the patience of the camera to stay on each individual, to the momentary glimpses of the surroundings - they all add up to a remarkable portrait of a particular side of life in Hollywood. I am more familiar with the filmmakers' work as screenwriters, though I hope they continue on their indie film-making path. I am looking forward to this film traveling beyond the film festival circuit it is traveling on now and hope it has the ability to reach a larger audience.
  • Battureproductions11 November 2012
    Hollywood HAIR is a life-changing experience.  After spending that hour with Tony and his people, I could only ask myself, "What are you doing with your life?"   The man is not of-this-world and the work the team has done to bring his story out is monumental. Full of impact and gorgeous to look at. Transcends the literal and finds its way into your subconscious, in the place where dreams are made.   The film registers on some real visceral, non-intellectual levels. Has the creative power of a work of fiction, although it's a true story.   This film - as devastating as it is - is also funny as hell and is ultimately uplifting.   It's one of the greatest films I've ever seen.  I want to send the DVD to people.  Would make a good Christmas gift - definitely in the spirit of that season.