First Comes Love

July 29, 2013 No Comments

1375087511211.cachedQuestion:  When is a  documentary film a poignant self portrait?  When is it a  self absorbed snoozer?

Answer:  It depends.

Nina Davenport’s new film “First Comes Love”  which will premier this week on HBO (along with her earlier film “Always A Bridesmaid”) is an up front-in your face exploration of a 40 year old professional(Davenport herself) and her quest to become a mother, despite the absence of available suitors(sperm providers?).

Davenport is a local girl, born and raised in Bloomfield Hills, educated at Cranbrook and Harvard, who captured her 30 something angst in her first documentary, with an unflinching (self absorbed?) journey through her work as (you guessed it, perhaps) a wedding videographer and her struggle to convince her 5 years younger boyfriend to consider marriage.  Her newest film, conceived(pun intended) ten years later travels through the travails of singleton pregnancy a la sperm donation from her good (gay) friend.   Her style is definitely reminiscent of Lena Dunham’s “Girls” and does not appeal to everyone.  Interestingly, the reviews that I checked out that were written by men seemed to contain audible gag sounds, while those penned by women were more sympathetic.  A gender gap?  Hmmmm.  Life imitating documentary??

I was fortunate enough to screen this film at last year’s Toronto Film Festival (with Davenport and her posse on hand for a lively Q and A).  Traditionalists will be appalled (and probably bored), but anyone who has encountered (or experieced) the anguish and panic of a clicking fertility clock will appreciate Davenport’s honesty.  There are bonus threads which involve her parents and sibling, including painful exchanges between Nina and her patriarchal father (an uber Waspish man who sits comfortably/stiffly in his well appointed chair) and her proper, chain-smoking mother.

It is certainly fun to support local filmmakers.  Please check out her films on HBO and feel free to join in the comments!

Jolyn Wagner

Must See Movie of the Week

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