Tom RostonIndependent journalist Tom Roston checks in and writes about the world of documentaries in his column, Doc Soup.

You can follow Tom on Twitter @DocSoupMan.

Doc Soup: Fear of Flying

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This week, a pretty interesting documentary series called Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman is hitting your local DVD store — or your Netflix queue (November 11, to be exact). It’s appropriately titled, because it really is a 21st century Fear of Flying. The subject is the filmmaker Jennifer Fox, a 40-something woman who provides an intimate, compelling and lively portrait of her own life, as well as those of her friends, mostly “taking stock of their men situation.”
Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman Fox has a married lover; she has him hold the camera, but doesn’t allow us to see him. Using pretty simple and quirky camera techniques like that, and passing a camera to friends when they have a conversation, energizes the filmmaking. Fox is good at storytelling and she’s pretty enjoyable to watch, but I imagine men and women will experience this series very differently. It’s shot very much from a woman’s perspective (for shame!), and it made me think about how there are no high-profile female doc filmmakers who get in front of the camera. Not Barbara Kopple or Rory Kennedy/Liz Garbus or anyone, right? Judith Helfand (Blue Vinyl) is not exactly a household name. Meanwhile, guys such as Michael Moore, Morgan Spurlock, Nick Broomfield, and Ross McElwee have successfully put their mugs on screen. (Actually, I take that back — you can catch Koppel in one of the most exciting doc moments of all time when she gets involved in a fracas with the sheriff in her amazing Harlan County U.S.A. But I guess that doesn’t really count.)
Shot over five years, Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman is a six-hour series that follows Fox as she navigates her lovers, her desire for freedom and a pregnancy while using the camera and her friends as a sounding board. Check it out!

Tom Roston
Tom Roston
Tom Roston is a guest columnist for POV's documentary blog. He comes to us as a ten-year veteran of Premiere magazine, where he was a Senior Editor, and where he wrote the column, Notes from the Dream Factory. Tom was born and raised in New York City. He graduated from Brown University and started his career in journalism at The Nation and then Vanity Fair. Tom has also written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, GQ, New York, Elle and other publications. Tom's favorite documentaries are: 1. Koyanisqaatsi - Godfrey Reggio 2. Hoop Dreams - Steve James 3. The Up series - Michael Apted 4. Crumb - Terry Zwigoff 5. Capturing the Friedmans - Andrew Jarecki
  • Dave MacDonald

    FOREIGNID: 17856
    I haven’t seen the documentary yet but I really appreciate your review. I usually rent my movies from Redbox but it I haven’t seen it there yet. Hopefully it will be available there soon. The Fear of Flying title is compelling. It will be interesting to see how Jennifer uses this as the basis for her film.

  • Cindy

    FOREIGNID: 17857
    I love this documentary!