The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography
A portrait of a friend clocking in at a slender 76 minutes, Errol Morris’s The B-Side is a decidedly minor work for a filmmaker who’s saved a man from the electric chair, investigated Abu Gharib, and gone toe-to-toe with two former Secretaries of Defense. In fact, it doesn’t really look of feel all that much like a Morris film – it’s formally looser and less urgent. But those modifications are appropriate to the subject at hand, and it’s got a warmth and intimacy that’s often missing from his major works. And when he gets to the meat and potatoes, he’s dealing with familiar topics here: the shifting tides of technology, the relationship between the surface and the soul, the ability of the camera to tell the truth. And when his subject says, of an old photo of her parents, “They never looked young, but now they look young,” it’s as casually poetic as anything in Gates of Heaven.