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Audience of One
Directed by Mike Jacobs
Leaps of faith are all around in Mike Jacobs’ mostly direct-cinema documentary Audience of One
. With the word of god as impetus and church and family in tow, Voice of Pentecost Church in San Francisco Pastor Richard Gazowsky begins his against-all-odds spiritual, emotional, and financial struggle to make a would-be $50 million biblical sci-fi flick, the story of Joseph set in an ancient Egyptian-themed future. Through it all, Jacobs follows with keen eye and patient, steady camerawork.
But while Gazowsky is a charismatic figure ably commanding attention in-person and on-screen (though by far more the former than latter), the film comes across as a poor man’s American Movie
. Perhaps it’s the film’s often (seemingly unintentional, but very much present) condescending treatment of the characters and fundamentalist religion. Audience of One
too often relies on an outsider’s perspective in choosing what to include: the “shaking” and speaking in tongues, the reliance on god to ensure bills get paid on time (they don’t), etc. By taking a surface view, we get a series of one-dimensional characters, not an empathetic man following his own version of the American Dream.
May 8-14 at Anthology Film Archives