Image: Mark Bennett, The Pritchett Family Plans (Modern Family), 2017 / Lithograph on Rives BFK paper / 29 × 40 in / Edition of 20 + 2AP
Capturing what feels like a lifetime in only 15-minutes, Matt Pizzano’s The Grass Is Always Greener On TV charts the life of Mark Bennett, who became famous for blueprinting every detail of the homes in the 1950s television shows he religiously watched as a child. An incredibly moving artist profile doc, the film’s glossy production and rich narrative arc echo much of the charm of the classic Hollywood that Bennett himself adored. In exploring one man’s attempt to escape into a fantasy world, Pizzano beautifully encapsulates the essence of an artist who must overcome his demons.
VIEW THIS FILM AT THE FOLLOWING LINK: https://youtu.be/_5UGXThye7M
The Grass Is Always Greener On TV uncannily juxtaposes the dark parts of Bennett’s life with the surreally perfect lives within the television shows he obsessed over. Using a combination of home video, talk show appearances, and interview footage (along with a bit of re-staging), Pizzano, alongside producer Nic Wehmeyer, build a story that feels like it should play on one of the old television screens where Bennett found so much comfort.
Accentuating the ironic comparison, the film was shot in the classic 4:3 aspect ratio, with a musical score that sounds just like something from decades past. As various clips from I Love Lucy and Leave It To Beaver play over Bennett’s confessions of a traumatic childhood, the effects of which would continue to plague him well into adulthood, Pizzano chillingly reveals the dangers of living in fantasy.
Pizzano’s greatest challenge was finding a way to bring to life both Bennett’s internal struggle and his vivid imagination, in a way that didn’t distract from the story. Motion graphics were therefore employed to illustrate Bennett’s work, with the help of the director’s creative partner and producer of the film Nic Wehmeyer.
As Bennett’s blueprints animate over the shows he studied so meticulously, Pizzano was able to translate the artist’s thought process to the screen. Coupled with stylish editing techniques, The Grass Is Always Greener On TV transcends the traditional profile doc and strikingly depicts a journey of a man who must overcome deep trauma and abuse.
Delightfully empowering and one of the most compelling real-life character arcs we’ve seen in a documentary, The Grass Is Always Greener On TV reminds us all how important it is to accept ourselves and others, flaws and all.
For more information on Mark Bennett, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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