Wylie Writes @ Inside Out 2014: Many Lives in One Great Doc

I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole (DIR. Jim Tushinski)


By: Addison Wylie

Jim Tushinski’s doc is exactly like his subject when Wakefield Poole is dancing.  The film is nimble, lovely, and tells a story.  We’re always willing to go for the ride.

When it comes to the arts, Poole has nearly done it all.  He’s a dancer, a choreographer, a teacher, and has been described as a wonderful cook.  His most famous forte, however, was being a filmmaker.  The work he demonstrated in Boys in the Sand and Bijou made people consider pornographic acts differently.

Audiences described his debuting pictures as important and tender.  They showed homosexual lifestyles in a light that was accessible, but also uncensored.  Hearing his films were making people feel better about themselves was a massive gift for Poole to receive.

I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole takes viewers through Poole’s restless life of ever-changing occupations and traumatic events.  Tushinski has shot and decently lit each interview with Poole and friends against a black backdrop.  I’ve chastised other films for this in the past (see: Bridegroom).  It’s an artistic decision that usually doesn’t serve the “talking head” format well.

Tushinski is a competent filmmaker though.  He’s incorporated images and video that help animate the stories being told and to offer up evidence.  The person talking will take up one half of the screen while the visual examples occupy the rest of the space.  It’s much more gratifying to hear Wakefield talk about the ugliness behind-the-scenes of a stage production of Do I Hear a Waltz? while seeing vintage footage of rehearsals.

I Always Said Yes hardly distracts with its style and maintains its modest storytelling approach throughout.  A sweet message about the significance of friendship also acts as a bonus.  I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole is an absolute pleasure.

Catch I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole at Toronto’s Inside Out LGBT Film Festival on:

Wednesday, May 28 at 5:15 p.m. @ TIFF Bell Lightbox

Click here for more details and to buy tickets.

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