11 December 2016 | swords-81296
You should see this one-of-a-kind film.
The story of the Yippies is full of compelling and amusing characters, and someone will eventually make an entertaining film just revisiting the hi-jinks and hilarity, cutting away before the bummers start piling up. If wreckage is more to your taste, there's a film to be made of that as well.
Left on Purpose isn't either film. It passes that low-hanging fruit for who-knows-what. Initially, it feels familiar, as Mayer reminisces about his youth and the Yippies in their heyday. Mayer is a character far, far removed from his glory days, and it's a bit perplexing at first when the film returns to his glamourless life and very uncertain future instead of lingering in his colorful past.
The most compelling documentaries are those in which neither filmmaker, subject, not viewer knows where things are headed. That appears to have created a stressful situation for Schein, as Mayer maneuvers first for control of the film and then for control of the filmmaker. The partnership between the two makes for the great drama of the film. Schein clearly did not set out to make a film about a filmmaker's dilemma, and his discomfort is obvious. It was a stroke of freaking genius and a bold-ass move for Schein to let the film follow the story where it led instead of where he had planned.