Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts

Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts ★★

An unfortunately bland and educational-feeling doc about a fascinating subject: a self-taught artist who was born a slave in the 1850s and who created eye-catching and powerful art that reflected his own life and times. The film interviews a number of interesting artists, critics, academics, and Traylor extended family members but also has hackneyed techniques (yes, the section about the Civil War has a martial snare drum and booming rifle sounds over old war photographs) and it didn’t really come together as a good film. I would rather see a museum exhibit or even flip through a coffee table book about his art.

Milwaukee Film Festival 2021