First Run Features // 1997 // 52 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dylan Charles (Retired) // March 25th, 2008
Genius? Fraud? Egomaniac? Maverick?
I didn't know who Henry Jaglom is, so when I got Who is Henry Jaglom? I thought to myself, "Who is Henry Jaglom?" Lo and behold, I found out with alarming rapidity.
Henry Jaglom is a famous (or infamous, depending on you ask) director whose movies rarely adhere to convention. He doesn't seem to believe in scripts and instead relies more on improvisations. His works include Festival in Cannes, Always, and the more recent Hollywood Dreams. He talks a great deal about extracting the truth with his work.
That's the basic gist of Henry Jaglom and we'll now move right along to Who is Henry Jaglom?.
Who is Henry Jaglom? features numerous interviews with the many people that Henry Jaglom has touched through his long career. People like Orson Welles and Candice Bergen and Wolfgang Puck show up, as well as several critics and actors who've worked under him.
Now, in an interview given for the DVD, Mr. Jaglom claims that Who is Henry Jaglom? depicts him in an overly negative light and that the filmmakers deliberately chose to show him in this way by not having any positive comments about himself. This is a bit strange considering the large amount of praise for Mr. Jaglom in the movie. There are even a few people who nearly worship him and I don't see how you could possibly get more positive than that. Who is Henry Jaglom? does tend to go after his eccentricities, but it's still a fairly balanced documentary with multiple people at bat for him.
Now, I would have liked more information about Mr. Jaglom's works themselves, but really, Who is? isn't about his work. It's about Mr. Jaglom and what kind of person he is. And I think by the end of the hour, I had a fairly good idea about what kind of person he is. Who is Henry Jaglom? has answered its titular question and done so thoroughly. Not only that, it answered it funnily, wittily and with surprising candor from the people involved. Rarely did anyone hold back, which lead to some emotional moments.
The interview I mentioned before is an extra on the disc and features Henry Jaglom giving his opinion about the movie whose name I am not repeating. It's 30 minutes of Jaglom Uncut, leading to some small insights into his personality that we might not otherwise see in an edited interview. Like how he rearranges the chairs for a good couple of minutes before the interview can get started which leads to the chairs being in more or less the same spot.
Who is Henry Jaglom? answers the age-old question and even answers it more thoroughly with the included extra. The next time your movie-illiterate friend asks you, "Who is Henry Jaglom?," you can sigh loudly and then hand him this movie. "Just watch this," you'll say, "It explains everything." Not guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: First Run Features
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 52 Minutes
Release Year: 1997
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "Who Isn't Henry Jaglom?"