Review by Mark Schwab
December 20th, 2018
In his last foray into the documentary form (the terrific Queendom of Tonga), director Brian Favorite gave us a glimpse into the far off land of Tonga and his experiences there as a member of the Peace Corps. Now, he has trained his witty and perceptive eye on a local church - the San Francisco-based Most Holy Redeemer church to be precise - and turns the phrase "the times sure are changing" into a wonderful and uplifting history lesson covering the church from 1961 to 1987.
Most Holy Redeemer is located squarely in the Castro (formally Eureka Valley) District of San Francisco. As the early 1960's gave way, the demographics shifted dramatically in the 70's and 80's into the large LGBT population that supports it today. It is precisely that journey which director Favorite charts - a journey not without its bumps in the road on the way to embracing the community.
Director Favorite beautifully avoids all the regular documentary tropes by steering clear of headshot interviews (there are none) and relying almost totally on previously-shot historical footage alone to tell his story. But trust me, this is anything but dry visually as Favorite puts in his own gentle animation into the mix which breathes new life and context into the archival record.
Strongly directed, impeccably researched, visually innovative and surprisingly moving, PARISH is a superbly entertaining short documentary that should easily find a wide and diverse audience as it hits the 2019 film festival circuit.