I'm a slacker.
Okay, maybe that's unfair.
I'm a good guy. I'm an indie film devotee and a productive, disciplined, and talented film critic.
But, as I was sitting down to watch Colleen Brady's documentary series Geronimo, a 2-film collective following two women as they use aerial acrobatics and circus arts as a vehicle of change in their lives and communities, my life had been in upheaval and recent personal and job changes had put me way behind in my reviews.
I have to confess. I was tempted with more than one film to just hit that old "delete" button, but I'm way too conscientious to do that and for a lot of filmmakers I fully realize that if I don't review it there may not be a review.
I'm so thankful that I didn't hit that delete button with Geronimo, a thoughtful and meditative collective of two films, In Flight and Circus Trash Monster, centered around two delightful women who've incorporated aerial acrobatics and circus arts into their lives in simple yet profound ways.
You will love these women, Kate Greenberg and Regina Armenta, as they tell their stories and live their lives before the camera. The films themselves are brief, nine minutes for In Flight and eight minutes for Circus Trash Monster, yet they are filled with life and meaning and visual poetry.
The first film, or at least the first film I viewed, is In Flight. In Flight centers around Kate Greenberg, a veterinarian and lifelong animal lover devoted to animals big and small but mostly big. She's a charismatic woman, her centered enthusiasm practically grabbing the lens and making you watch her. She talks about her life as a veterinarian, both by interview and voice-over, and we're privy to the animals, including an absolutely gorgeous camel, that she works with day in and day out but we're also privy to her determination to become better at self-care and learn how to take care of her body in rather beautiful ways. In her case, she acknowledges having reached a point of being 130 lbs. heavier than she is now and realizing that she wasn't happy.
She changed that. We observe the poetry of her movements alongside the soothing score of Amir Muhammad and we can't help but become enchanted. Ben Carolan's lens seems to intertwine itself with Kate, whose comfort with herself seems so secure that it's difficult at times to believe it was actually a journey for her.
It's an absolutely beautiful film.
Then, we move over to Circus Trash Monster, a film centered around Regina Armenta that in this case begins with the movement and instantly enfolds us in its rhythm and poetry. The Philly-based Regina carries with her a burst of life that is contagious and illuminating. She embraces the roles she can play and the costumes she can wear while doing aerial acrobatics, though one unquestionably senses within her the spirituality of the art that she discovered as someone who first embraced movement through yoga. You can feel her healing as she moves and you can't help but find yourself wanting to move alongside her and to grasp onto that light that she projects.
Again, Muhammad's original score quietly delights while Carolan's lensing is fluid and imaginative.
Colleen Brady, an award-winning documentarian and Telly Award-winning editor, has created a rich and meaningful experience with Geronimo, a collection of two films capturing two personalities and their experiences with life and with aerial acrobatics. The films are seemingly simple yet undeniably meaningful and life-affirming in profound ways.
For more information on Geronimo, visit the official Facebook page linked to in the credits.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic