We lined up at the Virginia Theater for Vincent: A Life in Color. I had a pretty good idea about what Vincent was, because I knew who Vincent was. If you're from Chicago, and have ever watched NBC news in the morning, you've probably seen Vincent. Or perhaps you've visited the windy city recently and taken a boat ride down the Chicago River - did you see a man dressed in a brightly colored suit dancing on the Clark St. bridge? Well that's Vincent.
Vincent: A Life in Color is a fun and interesting documentary about Vincent Falk. Vincent walks around Chicago all day in these crazy colored suits. He twirls in them and waves at passersby, including tour boats. I first saw Vincent on the morning news, standing outside the studio, twirling around. I thought he was nuts. But as I learned from this fantastic documentary, Vincent is just a nice man, wanting to share his passion with the world.
The director of the film, Jennifer Burns, was a hostess at McCormick and Schmicks downtown, and she would see Vincent strolling by every day. She was confused, like most people, but wanted to know more about him. Jennifer maxed out her credit cards and made a movie, following him around Chicago. And for a first-time director, she's pretty good. I laughed a lot, and there's some pretty emotional stuff that made my sister cry. Not me though.
This film works, mostly because Vincent is such a likeable guy. He's happy all the time. He tells jokes, all the time, and you eventually realize why he does. Vincent had a challenging life. He's almost completely blind and was raised in foster care. You can tell when he interacts with people as an adult, things are a little awkward for him. My guess is that to avoid conversation, he tells jokes and puns. This is just one of many endearing qualities about him. The fact that he's blind, and still manages to get around the city every single day is also remarkable.
Jennifer really brings Vincent to life on screen. We see his every move and every little quirk, and we're even treated to his personal evolution of dance. Jennifer introduces us to Vincent and throughout her film, we become his friend. She also introduces the audience to Chicago. This film, in my opinion, is one of the best Chicago films and will easily become a true classic. Being a Chicagoan myself, I enjoyed seeing my favorite spots. There are also places I've never seen and probably never would, like the store Vincent buys his suits at. I've always loved the city, but Jennifer really brings out its true colors. I actually couldn't wait to drive back home.
The pacing of the film is perfect too. It's never boring and there's just the right amount of history, interviews, and Vincent in the present. When things get a little sad, the next scene is usually something sweet. The editor of the film, Christine Gilliland, should be recognized for her contribution as well.
Jennifer has made a heartwarming documentary that totally engages the audience. She introduces us to a wonderful person that most people, in all honesty, would avoid. In doing that, she's also created a very nice homage to Chicago. So, to all my out of state readers, I recommend you see the film, get to know Chicago and Vincent Falk, and then come for a visit! And if you see Vincent on the street, say hi and shake his hand. Thanks to Jennifer, you are already friends.
4 Awesome Suits
Richard Roeper, a producer, Vincent, Jennifer, and Christine
To make my Ebertfest trip extra special, my sister found this at a vintage record store for 20 cents. Superman practically flies of the sleeve when you open it! Booyah!