Best and Most Beautiful Things
2016 | 91 mins
Country of Production: USA
Country Featured: USA
Saturday, October 15 | 8:30 pm | Program F5
Michelle Smith is a bold and magnetic 20-year-old woman who is legally blind and diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Coming of age in rural Maine, Michelle longs for intimate connection and adventure as she enters the adult world, both embracing and protesting her label as an outsider. Michelle asks you to get ready for “good music, kinky stuff, a cute cat, romance, drama,” and to celebrate outsiders around the world alongside a boisterous spirit paving her own way in a small New England town.
Co-presented by the New York University Council for the Study of Disability and ReelAbilities: NY Disability Film Festival
“The subject of our film, Michelle, has very limited vision and while we were tempted to use camera techniques to cleverly represent her point of view, we quickly realized we can never truly know what Michelle sees. So our camera setups were often framed to trail behind Michelle as she walked through the world, just as the creation of this film was an effort to follow her lead and erase the distancing of ‘the other.’ ”
I want to be clear however that I celebrate the subjectivity of documentary filmmaking. For me the “frame” is not a palette to project content back to the viewer—the frame is a portal for our searching gaze as we build relationships. That’s why framing with extended close-ups of people’s faces is important to me, because when I yearn to know someone more deeply, I move closer.
I approach filmmaking as a two-way street, and thus I discover connection by exposing my own vulnerabilities throughout the process. So that the final product does not represent an agenda or answer for anything, it’s simply a representation of shared vulnerabilities between the film subjects and the filmmakers, in a chaotic unframeable world.”
—Garrett Zevgetis | Director, Best and Most Beautiful Things