Doc Roundup: December 20, 2007

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IN THEATERS
A still image from Steal A Pencil For Me

A still from Steal a Pencil For Me

The new documentary Steal a Pencil For Me, by Michàle Ohayon, promises to be a Holocaust story unlike any other you’ve seen. Jack and Ina Polak fell in love in a concentration camp in 1943. He was also married to someone else at the time. The couple has now been married for 60 years, and the film recounts their story through readings of their love letters, contemporary footage and archival footage. The film has garnered excellent reviews from many critics, and the The New York Times says that “what makes Ms. Ohayon’s movie special is its recognition that “epic horrors don’t erase private dramas.” However, though the Onion A.V. Club grudgingly admits “the film can’t help but be moving,” it points out that the film doesn’t bring much of the feeling of the couple to the surface.

ON DVD
Deep Water by Louise Ormond and Jerry Rothwell is about the 1968 round-the-world yacht race, and follows a number of competitors, including Donald Crowhurst, a British electronics-shop owner who is determined to finish the voyage despite his inexperience. Crowhurst kept a diary, and filmed himself on his vessel, and as he sailed on despite increasingly harrowing conditions, the film expands to be a haunting tale of what happens when you reach beyond your grasp. TVGuide.com calls the film a “superb documentary” and the Baltimore Sun says that it should be “seen again and again.”

Ruiyan Xu
Ruiyan Xu
Former POVer Ruiyan Xu worked on developing and producing materials for POV's website. Before coming to POV, she worked in the Interactive and Broadband department at Channel Thirteen/WNET. Ruiyan was born in Shanghai and graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Modern Culture and Media.