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Charlie Victor Romeo – DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Vancouver, CA

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Charlie Victor Romeo
Saturday, May 3, 2014 – 5:00pm

Charlie Victor Romeo

Robert Berger, Patrick Daniels and Karlyn Michelson
80 minutes

This film will be presented in 3D.

At first glance the words ‘plane crash’ and ‘3D’ could conjure up the idea of exploitation or horror films. But the truth is actually far more frightening. (It usually is.) This film, adapted from a 1999 stage play, is based on the official transcripts from the cockpit recordings of six different flights. The dialogue is rendered verbatim. When routine changes into life and death struggle, sometimes it happens very quickly. In other sequences, the waiting for that inevitable terrible moment stretches out like a wire in the brain. Intercut with the reenactments are clinical diagrams of the doomed planes, accompanied by dry explanations about the cause of the accidents. Directed by Robert Berger, Patrick Daniels, and Karlyn Michelson, the film’s use of 3D makes for a vivid recreation of the enclosed and theatrical space in which the narration takes place. The set itself is basic. The rest of the world shrinks away. We never see any passengers, and there are no outside elements, except for the disembodied voices from the air traffic control tower. An existentialist dread permeates the film as the crews fight to save the lives of their colleagues and passengers. But something else, more vital and alive, also emerges, namely, a certain form of human nobility that is increasingly rare. As the men and women fight to survive, chanting technical language at each other like an incantation or, more specifically, a liturgy, you feel a genuine and real sense of loss when they fail. -DW One of the most terrifying movies I have ever seen. -THE NEW YORK TIMES