Review: 401 Rogers

Directed by Steven Adam Renkovish, an experimental documentary, a meditation on family, loss, and memory. Contains home movie footage sourced from various Super 8 and VHS tapes.

The idea behind 401 Rogers is driven by love and respect, and film is a great medium for expressing your admiration for those who have been lost. It can create a cathartic and reflective experience for its filmmakers, which in this case breeds a thoughtful atmosphere. Steven Adam Renkovish takes on a very simple style of direction, it puts the pieces together and lets them speak for themselves. It’s taking a step back to let you read into the footage on your own and lead you back and forth between past and present. By doing so, it imparts the concept of what’s left behind, how homes and items can contain such strong memories, even long after passing. That once a person is gone, their presence doesn’t just disappear, they can still be felt.

Its journey has a mix of sweetness and sadness, with the past viewed through home movies which create a quintessential nostalgia, while the present brings things back down to earth. With the selection of footage, Renkovish gives a snapshot view into a lifetime worth of memories. It brings to life the different personalities of its subjects with each different piece of footage. You can feel the respect and love that went into making those choices.

Playing things on such a simple note has its advantages and disadvantages, the emotions are there but could potentially be enhanced with context. The footage of the present can feel fairly rough at times and scenes can also linger slightly, moving a touch slow. It feels as though there was more to give in points, especially coming in at twenty-five minutes, it had the room to incorporate a few different elements.

401 Rogers creates an unusual and thoughtful way to respect your elders. To communicate a family’s life and legacy blending the past and present, portraying what they left behind. It holds a palpable sadness in its present day view of loss, and a loving nostalgia in its home video exploration of the past. It takes a simple route and while it works, it does also feel like there was an opportunity to add more context and push the emotion even further, or add a bigger intimacy.

Verdict: ✯✯✯½ | 7/10

Make your own verdict by watching 401 Rogers below

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