Recently, we had the privilege to review the upcoming documentary, These Amazing Shadows, airing December 29th at 10pm EST on PBS (check your local listings). We were tickled when we learned the filmmakers were nervous about our opinions on the documentary because there is no way we could have negative thoughts about their masterpiece.
In case you were wondering what this documentary entails, it is a love letter to films belonging to the National Film Registry. Directors Kurt Norton and Paul Mariano focus on the importance of preservation and restoration, as these films are a snapshot of Western cultural history. This documentary includes interviews with film aficionados and experts in the film industry such as Rob Reiner and Christopher Nolan. Other appearances include classic film star Debbie Reynolds, modern day star Zooey Deschanel, and Gregory Peck’s son, Stephen Peck.
The filmmakers projected the contents of our hearts onscreen. These Amazing Shadows conjures a deeply engrained nostalgia and the only way to quell the beast is to watch these movies again. We were reminded why we love films. The motto of The Scarlett Olive is “devoted to the memory of classic films.” This is exactly what the message of the documentary portrays. If we lose one film, we lose a piece of ourselves. It is our job as citizens to protect our history and document the history in which we live in.
Norton and Mariano eloquently scold us for taking these celluloid gems for granted because we cannot be passive viewers. If we are, then we would not understand how fortunate we are to have films and be able to see the art form and our collective history has evolved. If this film doesn’t inspire you to take action or become a film preservationist/historian, we don’t know what will. These Amazing Shadows is a necessary “must-see” for all self-proclaimed film lovers and scholars.