April 2007

CRAZY by Heddy Honigmann

Director Heddy Honigmann is the focus of a retrospective at this year's Hot Docs and Crazy speaks volumes to her skills as an award winning documentarian.

Crazy explores the different connections a group of Dutch UN soldiers made with music during their stays in hellish places like Rwanda and Cambodia. By focusing on this musical connection to frame each subject's wartime experience, Honigmann strikes unique exchanges with her subjects that make their stories ring with alarming personal truths.

The musical selections are varied going from Puccini to Guns and Roses and Seal but it's in the memories behind each song that make for heartbreaking cinema. Honigmann makes the film's most daring and satisfying choice in filming sections with her subjects in simple static portrait as they silently listen to their song choices. The pain and sadness on the faces of these men and women is more compelling then most documentaries ever are. The rest of the film rests on amazing first hand footage shot by the participants during their tour of duties and quality stock footage.

Light on flare and heavy on reality, Honigmann's film brings up ideas of love, camaraderie, humanity, and the pain of desensitization with great skill.

This is a compelling piece of work that brought tears to my eyes on numerous occasions and is clearly the result of a monumental talent.

Matt Thomas

This review can also be found at: blogTo