Sunday, September 4, 2011

Telluride Film Festival #38: Living in a Material World

I often wonder when I hear about the release of some celebrity's personnel but as yet unpublished material, be it a diary, a manuscript, a piece of art or just family pictures, it feels so voyeuristic to me, like we are being given access to something without getting permission.

I have had the opportunity to go deep in the basement of the the Anasazi Heritage Center research library here in Southwest Colorado, which holds the rights to the archives of the Wetherill brother's...
who were the first  Whites to climb through many of the ruins up at Mesa Verde and were the first to try and preserve them. Researching for a story of the first tourists of Mesa Verde, I sat down in the basement and flipped through their photo albums and read their diaries, some written in the margins of the Post Office ledgers, Al Wetherill used as a post master in his later life.  I felt like I was invading their privacy.

As an arist myself, I also wonder how accurate of a picture we can really get of anyone from what they leave behind?

Thinking of all the half manuscripts and art work I have stuffed in the back of a drawer for a reason good reason, not having the heart to throw them away but knowing they were really,really bad.
DiVinci, Hemmingway and even George Harrison probably have had more material that should not see the light of day, then did. All artist are like that.

With all these concerns it was wonderful in the Conversation with his wife, Olivia Harrison...
that the first thing she emphasized was how much a documentary was one of the many things Harrison very much wanted to do, but did not get to once he knew his time was short from lung cancer and how she knew she had to finish this for him.

That said it took a decade for Living in a Material World to be completed. At the conversation, Olivia Hamilton confessing that at first she could not bare to be apart from her husband's things, she would send a carrier with a few items and make them wait while Martin Scorsese and his team sifted through them.

Scorses, whose last documentary was about Bob Dyon No Direction Home (2005)...

is not at the festival but his editor, David Tedeschi is  and as is Living in a Material World producers Nigel Sinclair and Margaret Bodde are.

The collaboration that was need by all of Harrison friends including Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and his good friend Eric Clapton was amazing...

but as a wife married to the same man for over twenty years,  my heart went out to Olivia Harrison, who simply was trying to preserve her husband's legacy before someone else did.

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