Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

A terrible crime spurs a filmmaker to examine friendship, family and -- ultimately -- the justice system.



For Kurt Kuenne, it was always personal: After his lifelong friend Andrew Bagby was murdered in 2001, he set out to document his late pal's life -- as a eulogy, as a healing process and as a video diary for Bagby's infant son. But the reflective celebrating of Bagby's life ran in tandem with increasingly difficult circumstances generated by the woman suspected of killing Bagby. By the film's mid-point, the twist-filled domestic and judicial crises are nearly jaw-dropping. (Pittsburghers may recall the crime -- Bagby practiced medicine in Latrobe, and was shot at Keystone State Park; the alleged assailant, his former girlfriend, later fled to Canada.) Documentarians often cultivate emotional distance in the service of presenting a balanced work, but Kuenne offers no such restraint. His anguish and rage literally infuse critical sequences, and the story is openly one-sided. Someone less personally involved may have made a more restrained, tighter-focused film -- at times, even Kuenne's narration is rapid and overheated. But Kuenne is transparent about his involvement, and his access translates into scenes of such openly raw emotion that they are compelling on a pure gut level. Starts Fri., Jan. 9 Regent Square (AH)


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