The Windmill Movie | Chicago Reader

The Windmill Movie

Born in 1944, Richard P. Rogers was reared in the Hamptons and might easily have enjoyed as his birthright a cushy career in high finance. Instead he became an award-winning documentarian and nailed himself to the cross of a hopeless experimental feature about his own divided, Prufrockian self. After Rogers died in 2001, his former student Alexander Olch undertook to rescue something from the scripts, recorded narration, and 200-plus hours of footage accumulated by his mentor over 25 years of privileged creative paralysis. The resulting metadocumentary (2008, 82 min.) is an interesting botch whose inherited conceptual preciousness is worth tolerating for the good stuff about money, class, family pathology, sexual betrayal, envy, and other universally interesting subjects. Also on the program is Rogers's 12-minute student film Quarry (1970), its brevity, beauty, and simplicity lending extra poignance to the stifling convolutions of his posthumously completed magnum opus.

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