The Films of Michael Sporn, Vols. 1 & 2
Review by Emru Townsend · February 6, 2004 | Listening to the audio commentary and watching the making-of documentaries on volumes 1 and 2 of The Films of Michael Sporn, it occurred to me that Sporn himself is like his films: low-key, yet engaging.
Volume 1's films experiment with documentary: Whitewash (1994) is an interpretation of a real incident in which a street gang spray-painted a black girl's face white, while Champagne (1997) animates the life story of a real girl named Champagne as she explains her life before, during and after her mother's incarceration for murder. Volume 2 is more fantastic: The Talking Eggs (1992) is an urban retelling of a Creole folk tale, while The Hunting of the Snark (1989) is a condensed version of Lewis Carroll's poem.
Aimed as they are at a younger crowd under the auspices of public television, the first three films are a touch didactic. But there are some nuanced touches, most notably in Whitewash. While the film necessarily focuses on the girl and her classmates' reaction to the incident, a fair amount of time is spent on the older brother's varying expressions of the guilt he feels over his inability to protect her.
What's Good: Films that parents can actually watch with their children.
What's Bad: Sporn is a bit too modest. A small independent studio gets Ruby Dee, Danny Glover, and James Earl Jones as actors and narrators? How'd he pull that off?
DVD Features: Audio commentary by Sporn, making-of featurettes, animation galleries.