The Peddler (2009)
One of my favorite films from the London Film Festival so far has got to be The Peddler – Filmed mostly in documentary style, apart from the scenic long shots, this is a film about handcrafted filmmaking. Daniel Burmeister is a seventy something filmmaker who travels around remote villages in South America and offers to make a movie in less than a month, using local residents as his cast. Choosing one of the half-dozen trusty genre scripts he’s been using for years, Burmeister sets about scouting locations, recruiting “actors” and spreading the word about his project. An act of bringing the community together as much as a creative venture, the filmmaking process elicits varying degrees of curiosity, commitment and problem solving.
Burmeister has a genuine charm, which draws the audience in instantly – The Peddler is a reminder that filmmaking is accessible and budget is not everything – For Burmeister filmmaking is a way of life. He earns very little from his films but enjoys and embraces the unexpected nature of his future.
Throughout the film Burmeister discusses his childhood, his strict unsupportive father and how he feels this links in to why he is a filmmaker – He takes pride in his work, he doesn’t take it too seriously and he has a genuine, warm charm that enraptures the audience.
The most engaging sequence is during the screening of the film, the villagers gather around the modest venue and the camera takes a long shot of the screen – We witness the back of the audience’s heads and their facial expressions during the screening. The Peddler is a witty, charming and honest film that reminds all of us the importance of handcrafted filmmaking.
Director: Eduardo de la Serna, Lucas Marcheggiano, Adriana Yurcovich
Cast: Daniel Burmeister
Runtime: 84 mins