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For many, Peter Anton's house embodies an end-of-life nightmare: no heat or electricity, the floorboards are rotting, and the detritus of a chaotic life is precariously stacked to the ceiling. The film's journey follows a gifted artist through twists and turns with enough human drama for a season of soap operas, plus insights into mental illness, aging in America, and the redemptive power of art.
I didn't know what to expect when I first stumbled upon this documentary. The official summary is purposely vague to avoid spoiling the experience. Without going into major spoilers myself, I'll attempt to explain it better. A pair of documentary filmmakers stumble upon an elderly artist (Peter Anton). They like Peter's paintings, and decide to make a film about him. Almost immediately they discover he's living in absolutely terrible conditions. In a nutshell, the house is so dilapidated it needs to be condemned. The documentarians manage to fix Peter's living conditions a tad, and even arrange a public art show to showcase Peter's paintings. Only after all this time and effort is exhausted, negative news begins to surface from Peter's past (timestamp 0:47:49 if you'd like to skip to that revelation). Now, serious questions arise. Is Peter remorseful for his past misdeeds? Should Peter's artwork be removed from public viewings? Should the documentarians cease working on their film about Peter? (Obviously the film still exists, so we know what they ultimately decided to do). It's sad, happy, frustrating, beautiful and ugly all at the same time, leaving you somewhat emotionally drained (and asking yourself a lot of questions).
An amazing look at an outside artist who, without the dedicated work of the filmmakers, probably would have fallen victim to his crumbling house. It was an incredible journey into the mind of a man obsessed with documenting each day, while showing how this man was skilled at manipulation-a skill that won over the film makers-almost to their detriment. This is one of the most honest, genuine, and human portrayals of a person and the challenges he faced (both from the outside and self-imposed). He is an artist in the most genuine sense: conveying honesty without pretense; somehow the filmmakers became his family and his documentations. I certainly hope that the filmmakers go on to more projects. The authenticity and humanity of this film is beyond my ability to describe; superb!!!!
So happy to have found this gem on Amazon. It’s a great documentary. Mr. Anton is an artist discovered by Dan Rybicky and Aaron Wickenden who made a frame for his life’s work. Tenderness, truth, humor and pathos were all felt. Fantastic offering!
I am proud of the film makers and they did a splendid job, roughing that out couldn't have been easy. That being said, I cannot endorse any film that glorifies any person that had problems exploiting children in the nude and taking pictures of that, at all. When you have gone through a situation like that as a child....it's inexcusable.
Very honest documentary. This guy is very eccentric and I'm not sure that the "incident" was a crime or just part of his love of the arts. He was obviously very ashamed of what he was had done, I don't think so much because he did it, but what it was made out to be. Touchy subject no doubt. Was there more to that story? If it was only taking pictures one time or if there was more. He never got in trouble but the one time? I get the feeling that he was just a very extraordinary person that doesn't fit it to the molds our civilization has made for society. That picture taking episode and the trouble it brought him pretty much made him into a recluse. I believe these filmmakers forced him to confront the truth and through that, and the move, saved his life and made him feel like a valuable human being again!