I kid Roseana about how much she must hate this blog since she stopped emailing after I sent her the url. The director of the new nonfiction feature, Billy the Kid chimes in, "Ooh, what blog? Will you blog about my film?" I explain I don't review films but she's interested anyway. She wants the attention. So this is my two cents about Billy the Kid. I found myself a bit in reserve during the screening. I was surprised to hear the complete gushes all around as the lights went up. I was even more surprised and moved to observe the tears and shared admissions in the lobby, "Billy's just like my brother....my father...my son...."
This film clearly touched a nerve. The jurors awarded it its prize for "a haunting and intense cinematic experience that truly allows the viewer to enter the world of its all too easily misunderstood protagonist." In the Q&A, the director described Billy as a hero - a boy who is so strongly who he is, regardless of the pressures to be otherwise. She loved that he compromised not one single bit.
So why did I feel resistance ? I appreciated the film, why didn't I love it? The romantic thread alone is one for the ages. As a mother, am I too aware of the reality of Billy's life? Is making him the hero, too simple minded for me? Of course, if he were my child, I would love him fiercely, and only hope I could be as calm and understanding as his mother appears to be. But is this 8 day immersion the whole story or just a shiny gloss? Why do I have this nagging feeling that something is missing?