Archives for January 2016
Talya Zax writing in Forward:
“Carvalho’s Journey” tells the story of Philadelphia artist Solomon Nunes Carvalho, one of the first photographers of the Western United States. Accompanying explorer John Fremont on his westward search for the best route for a transcontinental railway in the 1850s, Carvalho used daguerreotypes to chronicle the expedition’s findings. Stories about Jews on the frontier are rare, and “Carvalho’s Journey,” filmed largely among the astonishing geographic formations of the Southwest, is both a surprising and a visually stunning work.
It sounds like the scenario for a Jewish remake of “The Revenant,” and there are more than a few passing similarities, but the spiritual and cross-cultural odyssey involved is more benign and more fruitful, and the result, while not as portentous as that of the Oscar-nominated adventure, is no less far-reaching in its implications. Rivo tells the story briskly, with immeasurable assistance from Robert Shlaer, a modern-day practitioner of the daguerreotype who has been recreating Carvalho’s trajectory.
Review: ‘Carvalho’s Journey’ with Michael Stuhlbarg by Carol Di Tosti:
…Rivo’s editing is subtly precise. The filmmaker understands the necessity for continually flowing the variety of scenes, shots, and subjects to keep the cinematic pace lively and engaging. He is expert at producing a fount of information in a completely absorbing way which allows one to walk away remembering salient historical information
…Carvalho’s Journey speaks to the adventurer in all of us. With an excellent script and adept editing and careful culling and inclusion of artifacts and footage of the places that Carvalho visited, the documentary allows us to marvel at our illustrious history and the brave and wild men and women who saw opportunity and took risks to achieve something no one else had done before.
New York Jewish Film Festival Turns 25 by Beth Kissileff:
And there’s Carvalho’s Journey, a documentary about an observant Sephardic Jew who accompanied explorer John C. Fremont as the photographer on his 1853 Fifth Westward Expedition, a 2400-mile journey from New York to California, which should offer an interesting lens on cultural interaction. Another documentary, Projections of America, by director Peter Miller, tells the story of 26 propaganda pieces commissioned by the American government to show what life was like in the U.S. during WWII—”stories of cowboys and oilmen, farmers and window washers, immigrants and schoolchildren, capturing both the optimism and the messiness of American democracy.”