“Hondros” and “Flower” – Tribeca 2017
One of the many striking images of war taken by photojournalist Chris Hondros.
“Hondros” is a visually stunning and heartfelt documentary about photojournalist, Chris Hondros, killed in Libya in 2011. The film was directed by Greg Campbell, a friend of Hondros.
Hondros started his photo journalist career with the war in Kosovo in 1999. He was a fearless photographer who believed that there was no substitute for being there. His pictures were about those who were impacted by war and not necessarily about the wars themselves. Hondros’ belief in shining a light in places that would otherwise be dark caused him to have many near misses, including once being stranded in the desert for three days.
Campbell and his crew have done a stunning job of putting together this portrait, the main stay of which is Hondros’ pictures, vividly reproduced. The film also includes interviews with Hondros, updated interviews with the subjects of some of his most striking photographs, and those who knew him, including his mother.
Director, and co-writer, Max Winkler’s “Flower” is a coming age story with some bizarre twists. The film has an interesting view of morality and deviance or, more specifically, which characters are really the deviant ones. Are its teenaged “heroes” really any better off than the corrupt adults that they go up against? What is the degree of punishment one deserves for deviant acts?
“Flower” has a game cast anchored by a strong central performance by Erica Vandros, as Zoey Deutch, a rebellious adolescent from Hell. Interesting characters and moral conflicts abound, but ultimately the proceedings are wrapped up with a Deus Ex Machina ending which, although contrived, is actually quite disturbing, if one gives it some thought.