Zachary Levy’s “Strongman,” a 2009 Slamdance Film Festival premiere ten years in the making, is a swell, small first-person documentary about New Jersey strongman Stanley “Stanless Steel” Pleskun, a scrap-metal worker by day who, despite approaching middle age, performs feats of strength while hardly getting any notice for it. Pleskun is a simple man, mutters, redefines by the day what a “champion” is. Levy’s capable handling with such close attention leads to the rarest and most compassionate form of cinema vérité. It’s possible to be a lifelong dreamer even when your dreams aren’t that imaginative. Tender, touching stuff. 113m. (Ray Pride)
Strongman opens Friday at Facets.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published soon. Previews of the project are on Twitter and on Instagram as Ghost Signs Chicago. More photography on Instagram.