2 Docs on 2 Inspirational Women

  • Michael Snyder reviews two docs.
  • “Mercedes Sosa.”
  • “Maiden Trip.”

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David: Michael Snyder is our resident film critic. Every now and then he stops by with documentaries that all of us should be catching. He has two for us today — “Maiden Trip” and “Mercedes Sosa.” So tell me about “Mercedes Sosa, was it so-so?

Michael: It was so good. She is, in fact, the most influential Argentine singer and songwriter. Unfortunately, she passed away back in 2009, but over a 50 year plus career she had an amazing impact. The subtitle of this documentary is “The Voice of Latin America.” She was terribly influential. She was known as “La Negra,” popular throughout Latin America, won some Latin Grammys, also reached outside the continent and became a very important figure in a movement that was known as “Nueva Cancion,” I guess the “new song.”

Michael recommends this new doc on singer Mercedes Sosa.

Michael recommends this new doc on singer Mercedes Sosa.

These people were like very, very hip to folk-trad in Latin America, but they also had a real sense of populist importance supporting the disenfranchised. This woman was very, very outspoken against a lot of the dictatorships in Latin America, and she was known and beloved throughout the continent. She got in trouble because of her refusal to back down in a lot of situations like that. She sung her songs, stated what she wanted to state, and was, again, incredibly beloved.

This movie, in addition to featuring her in her own voice on camera throughout parts of her life, also has interviews with the likes of David Byrne and Milton Nascimento and other performers that may not be as well-known in the U.S.

David: David Byrne from the Talking Heads?

Michael: David Byrne from the Talking Heads, who was a great exponent of Latin American music and has made a couple albums, one of which is absolutely off-the-hook great. One of his solo records is devoted purely and utterly to a series of different styles of Latin music that he interprets beautifully, I may add. This movie is worth seeing, and if you’ve never heard of Mercedes Sosa, by all means get a chance to watch this movie and learn about someone who was brave and courageous and incredibly talented and was a wonderful singer and songwriter.

David: “Maiden Trip”?

Michael: “Maiden Trip” is another movie about a very brave woman, but a very young woman. At 14 years old, a young Dutch girl named Laura Dekker decides, after learning how to sail with her father since childhood, she decides that she’s going to take a solo trip in a boat around the world. A sailboat circumnavigating the globe and the only person on board is 14-year-old Laura Dekker. It’s an amazing tale of determination and bravery and pluck. This girl also had to fight the authorities with her parents in order to get the approval to do this. There are scenes set in the court. You have a little backstory here and there told through some footage from her younger years, and she had cameras on the boat by herself and she did all these video selfies during her trip.

Michael also raved about Maiden Trip.

Michael also raved about Maiden Trip.

David: It was controversial?

Michael: She’s controversial insofar as the government did not want her to make this trip. They thought it was child endangerment on some level.

David: Sending a 14-year-old girl in a boat around the world by herself?

Michael: They didn’t send her. She wanted to go.

David: I won’t even let my daughter go to the 7-Eleven after 7:00 in the evening.

Michael: Well, this movie “Maiden Trip” is basically a collaboration between Jillian Schlesinger, the director, and little Laura Dekker, who does all this video on the boat. One thing that should be clear here that Laura Dekker, in addition to doing this, comes from a broken home. Her mother and father divorced, and at one point her mother and sibling meet up with her in one country. She would stop in various ports of call. She was in the Galapagos Islands. She went to a lot of really different, cool places, French Polynesia, South Africa, and of course Australia.

David: She’s 14 though!

Michael: Well, I think she maybe even turned 15 at one point. This was a couple years ago. She’s no longer 14. But the idea of a 14-year-old girl traveling the world, traveling the globe in a sailboat by herself is a little daunting, but her assurance on a boat, her comfort zone, her capabilities as a sailor are way beyond her years.

David: Well, I’m appalled that you would recommend this movie.

Michael: No, you’re always looking for a way to kind of undermine something inspiring. I think it’s something internal. I think it’s just something you really don’t like the idea of people doing something when it’s easier for you to just sit and criticize in your sound booth.

David: A 14-year-old girl, that’s child endangerment.

Michael: No, not when you’re this adept. It’s inspiring. She’s confident. She’s talented. She did it.

David: She can’t wait till she’s 18?

Michael: Well, you know what? If you were her dad, I think she might have asked for emancipation at 14. What I don’t like, there’s something called “bull-crit” when people start talking about something after they haven’t seen it.

David: Well, a 14-year-old girl should not be sent around the world on a boat by herself, unless it’s a Disney cruise.

Michael: You know, you’re just making a great mistake because this is not what happens here.

David: Well, if any kids are listening, it’s my responsibility. If you’re a child, do not go sailing around the world in a boat by yourself.

Michael: It’s very, very exciting and very inspiring. It’s called “Maiden Trip,” and it’s available right now.

David: Thank you, Michael Snyder.

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