Casting About (review)

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Here’s a side of the filmmaking process that even serious cinephiles — the fans who listen to DVD commentary tracks and read scripts and dissect directors’ intentions — never get to see: casting. Indie filmmaker Barry J. Hershey set out in 2000 to interview performers for three different roles in one dramatic film, but instead he decided that the resulting footage — of 180 actresses from auditions in Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, and Los Angeles — was fascinating on its own. And so he shaped it into this remarkably compelling look at the dreams and vulnerabilities of actors, and in particular of female actors, of whom so much more is demanded, from a physical perspective. For all that this documentary, one of the most striking I’ve ever seen, is an intriguing look at one specific challenge that faces filmmakers — how do you choose among so many talented people? — this works even more compellingly as a meditation on the many varied manifestations of beauty (both inner and outer), and of the potent forces of drive and personality. Bonus material includes deleted scenes, interviews, and audition monologues. [buy at Amazon]

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