Saturday, 25 February 2012

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father, dir/wr. Kurt Kuenne

Picking apart the individual components of how TV works has been a staple of satirical comedy for some time now, with perhaps most effectively Chris Morris' The Day Today and Brass Eye, and most recently Charlie Brooker as chief analysts into how media is meticulously constructed in order deliver Drama on demand, and push its viewers buttons. Thus there will be many such devices in Kuenne's arresting documentary, commonly used to needle, provoke and evoke, that we wouldn't find amiss on many of the low-rent, shock-doc Channel 5-style fare that are so plentiful these days. Form aside, the content of this engaging and tragic story is honest, immersive and rings on well after its end. Kurt Kuenne intends to make a video scrapbook for Zachary Bagby, the son of his murdered best friend Andrew at the hands of his girlfriend Shirley Turner, but what starts off as a collection of interviews and an attempt at celebrating the life of the deceased soon turns into a real-life crime exposé. As the focus of intent behind the project shifts, we meet a wonderful collection of people who painfully and with much dignity carry us through the horrors of injustice and the consequences of improper child protection legislation and out into a redemptive world where humanity and love prevail.