I Am Sam, 2001 / Jessie Nelson

8199I finished watching I Am Sam at three at night, having not managed to hold my emotions twice. I thought, damn you you film critics if you dare to shoot this movie down. Next day, Rotten Tomatoes blinked with 35% approval. Anyway, there’s some points of view and other points of view, and I have to admit that if you watch I Am Sam with your head only, you might not be too impressed. If you choose to see it through your heart though, it’s difficult to not be moved. And, for god’s sake, how could you watch this movie with your mind only? I could not and would not want to. Some say Sean Penn deserved an Oscar for his performance, others claim it’s easy to act-pretend a retard. Go do it yourself, if it’s that easy! What the movie does, to be sure, is take a stand, keep a side throughout. It’s the side of Sam, his daughter Rita (Dakota Fanning), and the lawyer-shark Rita (Michelle Pfeiffer). It’s not that the opposing side’s motivation and reasoning are not presented – you will understand why the state wants to take Sam’s kid away from him, you might be tempted to justify it. Maybe, maybe time would show she is better off living with a foster family…but to me the film was not mainly about whether it’s morally right and logically justified to separate a girl from her parent on the premise of him being with a lesser mind than hers…it was about the power of love, the feeling of belonging in a family, however small and imperfect it might be. I also generally liked the camera style – lots of shaking, floating, whip-pans (though the latter might have been tempered down a bit). It made the film feel alive, real, unpremeditated.

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The personal website of director Ivaylo Minov

I am a Bulgarian-born filmmaker working between Sofia and London. Over the last six years, I have been directing TV commercials for agencies like DDB, Leo Burnett, Lowe Swing, Publicis, Huts JWT, Demner Merlicek & Bergmann. I have worked for a wide range of clients – from mobile telecoms through charities to a viral campaign for a presidential candidate at the 2011 elections in Bulgaria.

I have a film making diploma from the London Film Academy, following a BA degree in Journalism by the American University in Bulgaria. I have worked in media and theatre, before discovering my passion for film making and turning it into a full-time devotion.

Find me at:
liaminov (at) gmail.com
0044 7757 428696 (UK)
00359 886 880564 (BG)