Joan Didion and Arthur Miller Get the Documentary Treatment From Family Members, And That Makes All the Difference — NYFF

"Arthur Miller: Writer" and "Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold" both grapple with the relationships their makers have with their subjects off-camera. “Arthur Miller: Writer” The following essay was produced as part of the 2 0 17 NYFF Critics Academy , a workshop for aspiring film critics that took place during the 55th edition of the New York Film Festival. Documentaries often get personal with their subjects, sometimes in ways that are essential to the powerful filmmaking on display. But what does it look like when family, so often the subject, mingles with the forces behind the camera? Two new documentary films, “ Arthur Miller: Writer ” and “ Joan Didion : The Center Will Not Hold,” position their eponymous 20th century literary figures beneath their progeny’s gazes. Plenty ambitious, often neutral, and never too critical, these filmmakers seek a delicate, ethical balance between titillating an audience with the private life behind a public persona and executing a squeaky-clean legacy. Writer and director Rebecca Miller is tasked with her father Arthur, the man who used theater to confront the fallacies of the postwar era; actor and director Griffin Dunne tackles his aunt, Joan Didion, who rejuvenated the modern […]

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