Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters

77 minutes 2012

Photographer Gregory Crewdson creates eerie, highly detailed tableaus of small-town life that evoke the cinematic styles of Alfred Hitchcock and Nicholas Ray. For this slight but likeable documentary (2012), Ben Shapiro goes behind the scenes of Crewdson's process, which is so elaborate that it's more like a movie production than a photo shoot. The video is most interesting for its look at Pittsfield, the small, rundown Massachusetts community where Crewdson works. Thanks to a local GE plant that employed most of its citizens, Pittsfield was once a booming area, but it fell to ruin when the plant shut down. It's since become a ghost town, and the remaining citizens go out of their way to assist Crewdson, shutting down entire blocks and providing city resources such as fire trucks. There's a fascinating sociopolitical study buried here somewhere, but Shapiro settles for a run-of-the-mill artist profile.

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