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From Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze, acclaimed director of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, comes A PORTRAIT OF MAURICE SENDAK, a loving look at one of the most cherished, talented, and controversial figures in childrenas literature. Featuring TELL THEM ANYTHING YOU WANT, this is a deeply moving portrait of Sendak, a seminal talent who is conflicted with his success, and whose lifelong obsession with death has subtly and ironically influenced his work. Now 81, Sendak is best known for his first book, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, which he wrote after spending 10 years as an illustrator. Though poorly received initially, WILD THINGS would eventually become one of the most beloved and critically lauded childrenas books of all time and, much to Sendakas chagrin, would come to define his career. Through his own words, firsthand photos, and illustrations, Sendak offers a rare, intimate, and unexpected look at his exceptional life. A PORTRAIT OF MAURICE SENDAK also features Spike Jonze, James Gandolfini, Meryl Streep, Catherine Keener, and Tony Kushner honoring their longtime friend and colleague.
Tell Them Anything You Want is an intriguing documentary focusing on Maurice Sendak, the curmudgeonly children's author who wrote Where the Wild Things Are. Filmmakers Spike Jonze (who directed the film version of that book) and Lance Bangs have a compelling subject to work with in Tell Them Anything You Want. Viewers don't have to be fans of Sendak's books to enjoy this film. As the title implies, the author (who was 81 years old during the making of the documentary) isn't shy about saying anything--some of which he admits may be made up. Sendak isn't overly modest about his brilliant and sometimes controversial work. But he still likes to question why the filmmakers are "doing a documentary of a brain-dead person." Clearly, Sendak is far from brain-dead. Still whip-sharp and witty, he is equally at home cussing up a storm or relaying fantastic stories that should be made into books. At one time, his work was considered inappropriate for kids. But he has always held the theory that children are a lot smarter than adults give them credit for. You can tell them anything, as long as you're being honest. The documentary includes some shout-outs from A-listers such as Meryl Streep, Catherine Keener, and James Gandolfini. But it's Sendak himself who is the shining star. --Jae-Ha Kim
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Top customer reviews
You get to see some pictures of Sendak when he was young, his brother and sister, many of the drawings that he and his brother did while growing up, and includes wooden toys they created. You'll also get to hear what he thinks about his work and life, etc., and see pictures from his many children's books including those he only illustrated.
Sendak is really funny and personable, cursing every now and then, and seemed like a great character to hang around and have a drink with.
The cardboard box that the DVD comes housed in opens up with an illustration of Max and the Wild Things swinging on the trees from the book on one-side, on the other side a photo of Sendak lost in thought with his dog next to him, with a pair of legs and torso off to the left, and includes an essay by Tony Kushner.
***** SPECIAL FEATURES ******
Maurice At The World's Fair -- 03:30-minute
this is a re-enactment of an incident in Maurice's childhood where he talks about it, while Catherine Keener and Spike Jonze act it out and play all the characters.
Q & A With Spike Jonze and Maurice Sendak -- 28:37-minutes
Both take questions from a moderator and audience after a screening of TELL THEM ANYTHING YOU WANT at the MoMA.
Maurice's Birthday Tribute -- 17:53-minutes (scene select or play all)
A couple of celebrity readings at Sendak's 80th birthday party:
-- James Gandolfini = reads "In the Night Kitchen"
-- Meryl Streep = reads "The Sign on Rosie's Door"
-- Catherine Keener = reads Maurice's acceptance speech when he received the Hans Christian Andersen Award
Trailers for other Oscilloscope films
Anyway, this is definitely worth picking up.
Meanwhile, I'd not seen most of his other books, seems like each is different, but underneath, all filled with a child's heart and mind. The drawings of the true baby story he told were manifoldly genius. I'm so glad I watched this, made my day : )