Startling. 306 HOLLYWOOD feels like a whole new way of tackling documentaries. This ‘magical-realist doc’ pushes subjectivity into poetry.
A front-row seat to the evolution of the definition of “documentary.”
What we can’t convey in this podcast is the exquisite attention to visual detail in 306 HOLLYWOOD. Their playful treatment of uncovering memories reminds me of the work of Agnes Varda and Alan Berliner, which is the highest praise I can give, and yet it is wholly original.
In the world of documentaries, it is bold, if not a landmark.
306 Hollywood makes a strong case that nothing is too ordinary to be transformed and elevated by art.
306 HOLLYWOOD feels like one of the more universal and relatable films you’re ever likely to see...Likely to touch anybody who has ever lost a loved one, which makes it a very big story.
It’s a beautiful documentary filled with magical realism and most importantly the heart and soul of their grandmother. It’s the best thing anyone could have possibly done in the memory of a loved one and a poignantly valiant effort. It’s easily the best documentary I’ve seen in quite some time and definitely the best of this year.
306 HOLLYWOOD is an ambitious attempt to reconstruct a loved one’s life through artifacts and ephemera left behind... It’s enchanting and strikingly framed (in multiple senses of the word). The Bogarins perform a marvelous magic trick, turning ephemera into beautiful, meaningful art.
It’s unlikely you’ll meet a more lovable and relatable character in cinema this year than Annette. One scene, perhaps the best of Sundance 2018, finds Annette cajoled into wearing one of her old dresses. Well, she tries to wear it, anyway. Despite her exhaustive efforts, she can’t fit her 80-year-old frame into the 50-year-old dress. Riotous laughter erupts as Annette, stripped down to her ‘unmentionables’, battles the unforgiving fabric. This scene, so emblematic of the power of 306 HOLLYWOOD is an achingly human moment that captures the joy of living and the melancholy of loss.
It is a film that starts with the filmmakers search for their grandmothers life story through all the artifacts she has left in her home, but gradually transforms into the story of what it means to be human.
Switching between tones and moods with a looseness all its own, 306 Hollywood plays like an almost experimental documentary and yet has such humanistic intentions that it’s truly unlike anything seen before or since...The focus on memory, the spanning of time and our relationship to the mundane objects we see every day is as populist an idea as there is. This is truly a sight to be seen.
Personal Film on Life & Loss is a Stunning Achievement...it’s a mesmerizing treatise on loss and the sum of one’s life; a courageous film that’s neither depressing nor particularly uplifting. But it’s told in a manner so strikingly creative and original as to elevate it to the top of the now popular form of anecdotal documentary. Viewers might think they’re in for dry ruminations on life and death, but brother and sister filmmakers Elan and Jonathan Bogarin’s valentine to their beloved grandmother (and, indirectly, their lively and honorable mother) is instead a jewel of insight and perceptive musings sure to engross and entertain. Determined to treat their grandmother’s modest New Jersey home, which she occupied for over 67 years, as the site of an archeological dig, the siblings fan the remains of a lifetime searching for clues, turning their excavation into astonishing sequences of discovery, boldly brought to life through spot-on reenactments and bursts of lyrical fantasy. Realistic, but not without humor or genuine affection, this unique gem is an instant classic that should not be missed.
The movie’s blend of charm and philosophical inquiry makes it at once structurally daring and a total crowdpleaser, sure to find appreciative audiences who will see echoes of their own clutter-filled lives in its story.
It’s also a revelation of two extraordinary new documentarians, this their feature directorial debut, who are suddenly thrust into significance with 306 Hollywood. More than just a film, though, the Bogarins have produced something that viewers are sure to become envious with. Not just because we might wish to make a work of art this personal yet playful but also be a part of one. How many of us would not love to be the subject of a doc like this when we die? This is much better than just receiving an obituary and a headstone marking our existence.
Part biopic, part magical-realist rumination, the two [filmmakers] offer the genre a new format and the ordinary a beautiful homage.
Elan and Jonathan Bogarín’s 306 Hollywood begins like any good ghost story should: with the image of a suburban house shrouded in darkness, save for a few eerie lights glowing from its windows. As the camera floats toward the front door, we realize that we’re looking at a miniature house, similar to the intricately designed miniatures that Toni Collette’s character constructs in Ari Aster’s Hereditary. And then, like a magic trick, the image cuts seamlessly to a shot of the actual house. It’s an unexpectedly arresting opening to one of the most inventive documentaries in recent memory.
Every weekend we pick an indie movie currently playing in theaters we think is definitely worth your time and money, and this week’s is 306 Hollywood...306 Hollywood is part documentary and part art exhibit that will make you think about your own mortality, that you really need to call your grandmother more often, and that you really, really need to clean your place.
In this magical-realist documentary, Elan and Jonathan Bogarín decide to catalog everything in their late grandmother Annette’s house at 306 Hollywood Ave. in Hillside, N.J. While doing so, they investigate a myriad of subjects, including the persistence of memory, how we work through grief, the way consciousness and life itself are ultimately a matter of physics, and the immortality afforded by thermodynamics. Grandma Annette hasn’t stopped existing, because she never didn’t exist.
As Michel Gondry-ish as a film can get without being directed by Michel Gondry, 306 Hollywood takes on a myriad of subjects, including the persistence of memory, how we work through grief, and how consciousness and life itself are ultimately a matter of physics and the immortality afforded by thermodynamics. Relentlessly inventive without ever quite edging into whimsy, the picture is hardcore research porn. As such, it’s a tribute to the twin, equally noble callings of archiving and librarianship, as well as a paean to the importance of cataloging and subject headings. Perhaps not coincidentally, 306 Hollywood is also one of the best documentaries of the year.
The colorful, stylistic flourishes of 306 Hollywood makes it stand out among documentaries as something truly unique – an ordinary woman’s life rendered into an extraordinary film.
[306 Hollywood’s] magic realist technique is a genuine novelty, and presents intriguing possibilities for future developments in nonfiction film as a form of family history and personal reflection.
The documentary is groundbreaking because it uses fantastical sequences to give grandmother’s objects new life. By incorporating techniques of magical realism in 306 HOLLYWOOD, the Bogarins created an extraordinary tribute to an otherwise ordinary grandmother. It is engaging and visually appealing in ways the traditional documentary is not.
306 Hollywood has to be my pick for best cinematography of the year. On its head, brother/sister filmmaking duo Elan and Jonathan Bogarín made a documentary about their dead grandmother and the crap she left behind in her house. But through surreal stagings, visual catalogs, miniature re-enactments, and even a slightly hallucinogenic dance sequence, the film travels through metaphysical realms and mythological musings that are colorful, quirky, tragic, and divine. The cinematography in this film embodies the limitless potential of a lens and imagination, taking the simple story of an average woman and turning it into the meaning of everything.