Dear Zachary

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

A genuine emotional roller coaster, this documentary was made entirely by one person, Kurt Kuenne, and was intended as a home movie to be given to the infant son of Kuenne's lifelong friend Andrew Bagby, who was murdered in cold blood by his monstrous ex-girlfriend when he was only 28. After a stunning series of twists and turns, Kuenne's "letter" to little Zachary, documenting the life and personality of the well-liked Bagby, became something much bigger and infinitely darker.

The result is a film that alternately shocks, saddens, angers, and occasionally even gives hope. Kuenne has created a real work of art, delivering devastating subject matter in an intensely personal manner using an idiosyncratic editing technique that employs quick cuts and repetition to rich effect. Dear Zachary is so strong and so troubling that I can't find many words to describe it. That Kuenne made such a gripping documentary literally all by himself is even more impressive. This is one of the great films of 2008. Do not miss it.