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Finding Vivian Maier (2013)

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A documentary on the late Vivian Maier, a nanny whose previously unknown cache of 100,000 photographs earned her a posthumous reputation as one of the most accomplished street photographers.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vivian Maier Vivian Maier ... Herself (archive footage)
John Maloof ... Himself - Narrator
Daniel Arnaud Daniel Arnaud ... Himself - Interview Subject
Simon Amédé Simon Amédé ... Himself - Interview Subject
Maren Baylaender Maren Baylaender ... Herself - Interview Subject
Eula Biss Eula Biss ... Herself - Interview Subject
Bindy Bitterman Bindy Bitterman ... Herself - Interview Subject
Roger Carlson Roger Carlson ... Himself - Interview Subject
Phil Donahue ... Himself - Talk Show Host
Karen Frank Karen Frank ... Herself - Interview Subject
Dayanara Garcia Dayanara Garcia ... Herself - Interview Subject
Howard Greenberg Howard Greenberg ... Himself - Gallery Owner
Sylvain Jaussaud Sylvain Jaussaud ... Himself - Interview Subject
Patrick Kennedy Patrick Kennedy ... Himself - Interview Subject
Virginia Kennedy Virginia Kennedy ... Herself - Interview Subject
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Storyline

Real estate agent John Maloof explains how a trip to a local auction house, in search for old pictures to use for a history book about his neighborhood, resulted in him bidding and winning a box full of old negatives. John goes through the massive quantity of negatives, describes how impressed he is by the quality of the images, becomes quickly determined they are not reverent to his project and just puts them away. That could have very likely had been the end of the story, if the power of the images had not pushed him to fall in love with photography. John confides that his photo hobby quickly motivated him to set up a darkroom and devote large amounts of time printing. As he learned more about photography, he recognized that those negatives he had bought, then stored, were the work of a real master. In an attempt to confirm his suspicion, he selected about 100 images and put them online with the hope that the feedback would confirm his judgement as to the strength of the images. Written by Lane J. Lubell of Cinemashadow.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The discovery that rocked the art world.


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

17 April 2014 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

A Fotografia Oculta de Vivian Maier See more »

Filming Locations:

Chicago, Illinois, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$63,600, 30 March 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,514,782

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,603,035
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ravine Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color | Black and White (archive material)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Featured in The Oscars (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Completely unique and engrossing....
7 September 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"Finding Vivian Maier" is one of the strangest documentaries I've seen in a very long time. Strange, however, does not mean it's bad--the movie is one that surprised me with how much I was drawn into this highly unique woman's life. And, it's just debuted on Netflix in case you'd like to give it a try, as it's amazingly original and worth your time.

When the documentary begins, a young and rather unusual young man, John Maloof, talks to the camera to explain how he came to know Vivian Maier. One day, a huge box full of photographs was being auctioned off and he bought it on a lark. It turned out that the pictures were amazingly good photographs of various everyday people taken in the 1950s. However, the pictures had a very artistic touch and it was obvious that the photographer was no novice---they had the eye of a wonderful artist. Armed only with a bit of information, John began researching for more on this woman. To his surprise, he learned that this Vivian Maier was a governess and maid--not a professional photographer. However, the story soon gets MUCH stranger. It turns out that there is a storage unit filled with her belongings and Miss Maier has recently died. And, with no apparently last of kin, Maloof buys the contents of the unit. Inside are boxes and boxes and suitcase after suitcase filled with approximately 100,000 photos taken from 1951 up towards the present. And, in addition, are many, many roles of undeveloped film-- and who knows what wonderful treasures are on these films?

The film, however, does not just talk about her photos or qualities as an artist. Instead, John goes on a journey to try to find people who knew Vivian in order to help him assemble her life story. What he finds is often contradictory, quite confusing and, above all, very strange. It seems that Vivian really had difficulty connecting with people and didn't remain on her jobs very long. She also created a persona of a French woman--though it turns out she was born in New York! Additionally, aside from one family with which she worked for about six years, most of her jobs seem to have lasted only a few months or perhaps a year (this was the case with Phil Donohue's family back about 1970--yes THAT Phil Donahue)! The reasons are not simple to explain without seeing the film, but could be boiled down to the fact that she was, as one person put it, a 'damaged person'--with so much emotional baggage and weird behaviors that she was unable to really connect with others. She could not allow herself to be physically or emotionally touched by others and her photos are a possible unusual way of connecting with the world. What else do you learn? Well, see the film--as the story takes many unusual twists and turns. Overall, it's less like a biography and more like a forensic case where some people are trying to re- create a dead person by interviewing all those who knew her during her odd life as well as using Maier's own photographs, film footage and audio tapes. And, what's really unusual is that most of the people she knew seemed to have no idea that she was a great artist...as she took this secret to her grave.

Fascinating....this is probably the word that best describes this film. You just have to see it to believe it and although many might think twice about seeing a documentary or a film about a strange eccentric, I heartily recommend you give this movie a chance. You won't regret it.


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