Best Movies by Farr
Finding Vivian Maier Poster
Released Runtime Category
2013 83 Documentary
Director Language
John Maloof, Charlie Siskel English
John Maloof, Mary Ellen Mark, Vivan Maier

Finding Vivian Maier

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What's it About

When collector John Maloof bought a box of old photographs from a Chicago auction house, he fell in love with the candid street shots and compassionate portraits. He set about trying to discover who the artist was. It turns out that the photographer, Vivian Maier, had worked as a nanny for many years, practicing her art in secret and never publishing her work. Several former charges reminisce about the strange and elusive woman they had once known. Maloof unravels some of Maier’s history while giving her work the exposure she may, or may not, have desired.

Why we love it

This investigative inquiry uncovers deepening layers of mystery as Maier the woman comes into blurry focus at the same time her striking work emerges into the art community. Preferring pictures of unsuspecting passersby or working-class street scenes, Maier’s art can also be read as a mirror image of her own isolation, and (perhaps) mental instability. As Maier’s personal background and existence are explored (she died in 2009), fundamental questions are raised about an artist’s privacy, and whether a great one has an implicit duty to share his or her work. Like the individual it portrays, this doc is a true find.

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BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"