‘The Pulitzer during 100′: Film Review

Kirk Simon culls by works distinguished by journalism’s many famous prize.

A centennial reverence to a many famous endowment a publisher can win (and a flattering good one for those in other artistic fields), Kirk Simon’s The Pulitzer during 100 will have to suffer accolades by association. Far too extended to be low in any respect, a lightweight documentary advantages from entrance to copiousness of top-shelf interviewees though plays like a back-patting muddle. Small-screen audiences competence find it pleasant adequate not to strech for a remote, though melodramatic prospects are slim.

The doc’s small courtesy camber is generally sorrowful given a eponymous prize’s jubilee of depth, doggedness and inspiration. It’s as if Simon took a integrate of earnest films and put them in a blender. Reassembled and stretched upon, element here competence play utterly good in, say, a History as Seen by Pulitzer; The Voices of Pulitzer; or Joseph Pulitzer and a Reinvention of Journalism.

As it is, a usually theme that gets adequate time to rivet us many is tangible news reporting. In a few episodes, we lay down with a author or photographer and hear some of a story behind a story: photographer John Filo recalling how he suspicion he’d taken a best shot of his life, only mins before removing a one that won him a award; a group during a New Orleans Times-Picayune describing a initial mins in that they satisfied what a disaster Katrina was about to be.

But a Pulitzer awards aren’t only for newspapers, and Simon is fervent to widespread a adore around. He talks to novelists and poets, composers and playwrights, and wants to share chunks of everyone’s work. He brings actors like John Lithgow and Helen Mirren (and, infrequently though nicely, Martin Scorsese) to review from distinguished plays and poems. As resonant as they are, these excerpts are mostly too brief and orphaned among a other storytelling. Once or twice, when reading discourse from plays, a miss of context creates an actor’s unprincipled chapter roughly snicker-inducing.

From Junot Diaz to Tracy K. Smith to Robert Caro, past awardees pronounce about what a endowment means and what it’s like to win. But interviewees also pronounce during length about their work and their methods, presenting Simon with a quandary: How do we compensate sufficient courtesy to this many good artists though appearing to omit your settled subject?

The doc’s answer is to bound madly — and clearly indiscriminately — from one thing to another, with small biographical bits about esteem owner Joseph Pulitzer thrown in on occasion. One impulse we’re conference about Pulitzer’s beginning practice in journalism; a subsequent we’re during a Kent State shootings; afterwards examination Natalie Portman review a Jorie Graham poem; afterwards conference playwright Ayad Akhtar plead questions of Pakistani-American identity.

Sometimes, Simon lets interviewees lift a subject he has small seductiveness in exploring: Juror Paula Vogel acknowledges how “arbitrary” a selections can be, though we never hear a behind-the-scenes comment of a jury’s disagreement; we hear a anxiety to a “Pulitzer Curse” though a singular instance of a prizewinner suspicion to have suffered from it. In a century of giving prizes out to some of a world’s many gifted and dynamic people, certainly there were some tangible stories to tell.

Production companies: Marblemen Productions, Simon + Film
Distributor: First Run Features
Director-producer: Kirk Simon
Executive producers: Nikkos Frangos, George T. Lemos
Directors of photography: Buddy Squires, Stephen Kazmierski
Editor: Emily Williams
Composer: Wendy Blackstone

91 minutes

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