The Peddler is an Argentinean Documentary that introduces the world to the rather phenomenal one man film industry that is Daniel Burmeister. The sixty year old has thus far completed over fifty handcrafted films that simply involve him arriving at a village and asking for only food and lodging in exchange for setting one of his features there. He then utilizes local people, locations and props to bring his simply story to life, before finally premiering the film to the town.
Cinema started as enthusiast simply shooting some action sequences and then showing them to a small group of friends. Essentially Burmeister has rolled cinema back even further than Von Trier attempted with Dogma. His amazing enthusiasm and belief in people’s wonderment with cinema is what drives him to continue his one man crusade.
The documentary follows his film-making exploits in the village of Gould where he produces a one of his set films about a man refusing to pay his bills. The film is essentially a comedy with a fancy wedding thrown in on top as he found that worked on a previous production. The kids and various villagers take central roles with a local taxi driver proving his star potential, involving the use of a wig left in his cab.
The Peddleris a film that is knee deep in the love of cinema and the power it posses to bring people together in a shared experience. The villages visited by Burmeister have nothing but fantastic memories and even help out when they can on other projects. The film concludes with the premiere of the film at the village hall to a packed house. On the day of the premiere Burmeister is once again out doing all his own promotional work with a loudspeaker on his old warhorse of a car.The film captures a man whose view of life can be simply summed up as any challenge is provided so you can conquer it. No matter what the issue he remains’ totally unfazed and simply thinks his way around it. The car he owns continue to break down so he fixes it first with glue and then promises to re-build the entire chassis out of wood. He arrives to shoot the film without an actual camera and just finds out who has a camera he can use in the village and approaches him. This kind of self belief and ingenuity is astounding to watch and made me personally feel utterly inadequate. Life is filled with moments when you sit around and say ‘I would do that but what’s the point’ due to a list of excuses. Daniel Burmeister is a man who thinks the opposite, anything he sets his mind to he will ultimately accomplish no matter what.The Peddler is a wonderfully inspirational tale that unveils one of the true characters of world cinema. Daniel Burmeister is reminiscent of the character in Don Siegel’s Charley Varrick who calls himself the last of the independents. Burmeister is exactly that, a man who lives and operates by his own rules simply looking to entertain people. All the planning done by Hollywood studios is simply non-existent here as his philosophy of getting actual people emotionally involved works. The Peddler is a wondrous treat to everyone who loves the pleasure of films at their simplest of levels, removed from all the histrionics and CGI induced nonsense of modern day Hollywood.
Aled Ll Jones
The Peddler is out on Network DVD on September the 26th
Check out the Trailer below.