The 11 Must-See Movies of December

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Image courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Harry Benson: Shoot First (December 9th)

The story of photographer Harry Benson, known for photographing nearly every major figure of the 20th century. Is he a paparazzi or are his photos genuine works of art?

Documentaries aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but this year has included several great docs about popular culture. (If you haven’t watched The First Monday in May, and are a clotheshorse, you should.) I was fortunate to watch this already and thoroughly enjoyed it. Harry Benson: Shoot First is remarkable in that the man is like Forrest Gump; he’s always been in the right place at the right time. He’s captured KKK rallies, Martin Luther King’s funeral, the assassination of Robert Kennedy, and that’s just the political photos he’s taken. He’s also been the regular photographer for the Beatles, and took a rare photo of Greta Garbo after she declared “I want to be alone.” His photos are utterly breathtaking, especially considering how fortuitous his timing was in capturing them. Blended with his photography is the question of ethics. Is it right for him to capture photos of RFK’s body? Benson never sees an issue. For him, it’s all about documenting these key moments in time. Benson’s personality is so ebullient you can’t help but want to be a part of his world, ethics be damned.

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