Maybe it’s time to mandate a preliminary aptitude test for documentarians, just to weed out the uninspired time-wasters. San Francisco’s iconic Lawrence Ferlinghetti, now 93, a giant of publishing and free speech, would seem to require a poetic soul to tease out the epicurean nature of his politics and lifestyle. Christopher Felver, while an inspired photographer, is not the director for the job; he dutifully ticks off Ferlinghetti’s major achievements—such as the founding of North Beach’s literary mecca, City Lights—yet never imbues his life with anything more than lefty zeal. A survivor like this had to be much foxier to get so much done; where’s filmmaker James Franco when we really need him?
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