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Second Time Around 

Wednesday, Oct 23 1996
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Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision
Maya Lin -- the architect of genius who created the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. -- hankers for water. In her Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala., a constant flow pours over a chiseled inscription from Martin Luther King Jr. ("until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream") and courses across a timeline that marks the rise of heroic individuals and the reforms they helped engender. In a fountain she built to commemorate the history of women at Yale, water gently spouts from a spiral, implying that the real history of Yale women is ahead. Water suits the fluid, universal clarity of Lin's aesthetic; it quenches her thirst for naturalness and for a renewed, tensile simplicity. Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision shows how nourishing it can be for a documentary-maker (in this case, Freida Lee Mock) to profile a person whose knowledge of self and vocation is implacable. You can argue with some of the filmmaker's choices, especially her porous structure. But Mock's decision to concentrate on her subject's professional life jibes with Lin's peerless talent for abstract forms that crystallize complex experiences and catalyze catharses. The movie may not be a work of art itself, but Maya Lin is such a galvanizing artist that she makes that distinction seem petty.

Michael Sragow

Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision screens Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 8 p.m. at the Roxie, Valencia & 16th St., 863-1087; and Monday, Nov. 11, at 3:30 and 7:15 p.m. at the UC Theater, Shattuck & University in Berkeley, (510) 843-6267.

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Michael Sragow

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