Release Date: July 26th, 2006 (Film Forum) by First Run/Icarus.
Directed by Paul Yule.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about the scandal involving photographer O. Winston Link and his wife who was jailed twice for stealing his photographs for profit.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Director Paul Yule does a great job of clearly presenting the circumstances leading to the big scandal along with the three “characters” involved. O. Winston Link made a fortune out of his talent for photographing steam engines. At the age of 73, he married Conchita Mendoza, a beautiful and lively 48 year old woman who helped him to rise to fame, but ended up secluding him in his basement while she had an affair with Edward Hayes. According to Link, she stole 1,400 prints which she sold for profit. Subsequently, she was arrested for this so-called theft. Soon after she gets released from prison, she gets arrested again for selling more prints over E-bay. That’s just one side of the story. Yule wisely interviews Conchita and Edward to hear their side of the story. Conchita claims that Link abused her repeatedly and that he had the freedom to go outside while secluded in his basement. She says she doesn’t have those 1,400 prints that prosecutors claim she stole but admits that there were some prints that she was entitled to possess as Link’s wife. Is she telling the truth and wrongfully arrested? Or is she really a manipulative, gold-digger? The thin line between “good” and “evil” makes The Photographer, His Wife, Her Lover into a compelling documentary with plenty drama, intrigue and mystery as it if were a suspenseful narrative film. It would have been more powerful had the conclusion actually synthesized all of the evidence and testimonies which still leave some questions unanswered.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: If Conchita were a manipulative gold-digger, it would make sense that she’s still manipulating and lying during the prison interview. After all, nobody enjoys admitting that they did something wrong or wants to look like a bad person. There is a possibility that she’s telling the truth though, especially if Link really abused her—although prosecutors claim her wounds were self-inflicted. It’s thought-provoking try to figure out which side of the story to believe given all the grey area of the scandal.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: Thought-provoking, suspenseful and compelling.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
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