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 history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.