Talking Heads

Film Review by Dean Duncan Mar 26, 2015

This is a fantastic idea, executed with great discipline and efficiency. Interview subjects are selected according to the year of their birth. They feature accordingly in the film, which counts back from the present, one person, one year at a time.

The interviews provide content, of course, but in many ways Talking Heads is also a structural film. To give some shape and unity to the wide range of subjects, each considers the same basically banal questions. As a result individual responses are not too terribly profound, except by accident and at the margins. It’s the accumulation that starts to take on weight and bore in.

If there’s rote response then there are also accidental or unexpected revelations. So many personalities and dispositions! Patterns emerge and our preconceptions, not only about people of different ages but about Poles as well, are confirmed. Confirmed, but also problematized, sometimes even obliterated. The priest! That one hundred year-old lady! Geoffrey Chaucer spoke of his great company of pilgrims as reflecting, of constituting God’s plenty. It’s both wonderful and humbling to see how that description holds true in so many other settings and contexts.