There’s a near-consensus among critics that 2018 was an unusually strong year for film, and I can’t disagree. My list for the year is heavily tilted to the 4-star and above, even with some glaring gaps in the mix – I missed BlacKKKlansman, for instance; I’m waiting to see Roma screened at the Castro in 70 mm, like the cinephile tool I am; I didn’t see the new Claire Denis, or the new Andrew Bujalski, or the new Hang Sang-soo, or the new Frederick Wiseman.
We are familiar with the “making-of” documentary, but Sandi Tan‘s Shirkers turns it inside out. This is a “losing-of” documentary — a relentlessly charming love letter to indie cinema and its irrepressible DIY spirit, but also a confounding psychological mystery that asks, “How do you represent a film that exists almost entirely in memory?”
The film in question was meant to be titled, like its decades-later doppelganger, Shirkers.