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Friday, August 08, 2008

Capturing the Paskowitzes

The other night I saw the movie, Surfwise. The documentary follows Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz on his life journey, starting with his penchant for laying tefillin and naked calisthenics. The movie focuses on the period where he puts his Stanford Med degree behind him, and instead travels with his wife and 9 children  in a 24 foot camper to surf full time. I'm sure this movie's underlying story inspired countless reality tv shows--come survive with the Paskowitzes for a week!

In the ethically most problematic feature of the story, Doc never sends the kids to formal schooling; instead, they wake each day to Chairman Mao's fight song and they learn about life through surfing and their time together.  One of the 8 sons, who now works in a restaurant kitchen, expresses some bitterness about the fact that by the time he reached adulthood, he realized he had to do ten years of remedial schooling if he were to attain the level of knowledge necessary to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor also. Fortunately most of the other siblings were able to find work in the film and music industry...

In any event, the movie is funny, touching, and at times, extremely uncomfortable.  Highly recommended. By the way, when my wife saw the movie here in the Hassee a few weeks ago as part of the Tallahassee Film Festival, she relayed the following story: at one point, Doc, at age 87, was talking about how much he loved sex.  He said somberly that "God speaks to us through fucking."  The octogenarian sitting in the row in front responded loudly to his wife, "See, Millie, I told ya so." 

Posted by Administrators on August 8, 2008 at 09:29 AM in Film | Permalink


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