Margaret Byrne’s long-in-the-works “Raising Bertie,” a behaviorally rich and visually ravishing six-year immersion into the largely African-American North Carolina farming community of Bertie County, follows the lives of three young men approaching adulthood. “I love vérité filmmaking and telling stories that leave the audience asking questions,” she told me for this year’s Film 50, as she described her observational knack. “Having trusting relationships with the people I film is the foundation of making a story that honors their experience and is authentic. I worked on ‘Raising Bertie’ for seven years, so those families and that community are very close to my heart. I’m not interested in making easy films, I want to challenge myself and I want to challenge audiences.” The absorbing “Raising Bertie” rises to all its challenges. A Kartemquin production. 102m. (Ray Pride)
“Raising Bertie” opens Friday, November 18 at Siskel
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.