| || |
The history of the first twenty-five years of American Flight is full of fascinating characters. Lindbergh and Earhart are well-known, but one name I was unaware of was Katherine Cheung. She was the first Chinese-American Female Aviator, and was one of the most interesting characters of those early flyers. Her story, Aviatrix: The Katherine Sui Fun Cheung Story is a wonderful tribute to such a great figure.
What's fascinating isn't just the fact that this wonderfully constructed documentary deals with an incredible figure, one who lived until 2003 and spoke of her times in the air often and well, but that it deals with the stories she has inspired, including an animated comedic short, and a really significant short student film. These glimpses are more than mere seasoning for her story; they are evidence of her impact, her impressive presence. When we see how she was portrayed outside of the archival footage (which is SUPER COOL!!!!!) she is given a life that feels new and fresh, which is a good thing for a character whose peak fame was the 1930s.
Perhaps my favorite portion explained many of the important things I had no clue about aerial acrobatics. Along with the demonstration of those techniques, an interview tells us why they were important. This provides us with an impressive hook on which to hang Katherine's achievements on. She was breaking ground with her acrobatics!
I can't say enough how much I enjoyed this doc. At 40 minutes, it feels as if they've done a solid job of delving into the topic, without overstaying their welcome, as often happens with single-subject docs longer than 30 minutes. The production, the interviews, and especially the archival footage, is all top-notch, well-edited, and gives the viewer a strong reward for diving in.
Klaus at Gunpoint
A Film Journal dedicated to all film.A segment of Office Supply Publishing.