Dave Puls’ “Girl of the Finger Lakes” will be screening twice this coming week as part of the New York Filmmakers Quarterly series. The film shares a unique part of Americana through the stories of Kitty Puls. It reminds us all of the great bounty in this land of ours. “Girl of the Finger Lakes” also recently received a “Certificate of Merit Award” from the Rochester International Film Festival.
New York Filmmakers Quarterly
Wednesday, April 25 at 7pm
Saturday, April 28 at 2pm
The Little Theatre
240 East Avenue Rochester, NY 14604
Tickets are $5.00
For more about the New York Filmmakers Quaterly series, visit http://bitly.com/nyfilmquarterly
Review: Girl of the Finger Lakes (2012)
by Mary Ann Satter
You may have had the experience of enduring someone else’s interminable home videos of their child’s dance recital (24 acts of tap, baton twirling and ballet) or struggling to stay awake through 200 slides of their walking tour of Weehawken and a pickle factory in Peoria.
But that’s because they’re amateur filmmakers and photographers, and David Puls is a professional, so his documentary about his mother’s life growing up and raising a family in upstate New York is lively, well-researched, and certain to recall fond memories of your own past as well as touch your heart.
Mr. Puls has gathered a wonderful collection of family photos that give us a good sense of what life on a Depression-era farm could be like – no electricity, no indoor plumbing, a wood stove for heating the house, and going off to a one-room schoolhouse every day – but it isn’t a grim picture because the warmth and happiness of the family is very apparent.
The film follows his mother to Rochester, N.Y., and the years from the 1940s to the 1970s when she marries and raises a family, and up to the present. Throughout, Mr. Puls intersperses the images of his family’s experiences with film clips, photos, and music that brings these decades thoroughly to life – reminders of people and places and cultural and historical events that make this film seem personal to any viewer.
What ties the film together so well are the segments of interviews Mr. Puls did with his mother Kitty Puls, the “girl” of the title. She is a bright, witty woman whose anecdotes are entertaining and often very touching. There is never a sense of the “talking head” type of interview that can make some documentaries dry and not engaging. Mr. Puls’ skilled editing and brisk pace as well as excellent choice of music makes this visit with the “girl of the Finger Lakes” a trip the viewer is glad to take.
Mary Ann Satter
Mary Ann has a M.A. in English from U of R, she taught English at Nazareth Academy and Brighton High School for 38 years. She also has taught film courses for 40 years at the college level. She currently, teaches at The OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute at RIT.