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306 Hollywood

The magical realist documentary about the filmmakers’ family history is in theaters now.

Alissa Wilkinson covers film and culture for Vox. Alissa is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics.

Metacritic score: 69

The directors of 306 Hollywood, brother-sister pair Jonathan and Elan Bogarín, wanted to make a “magical realism” documentary that would elevate the everyday into something extraordinary. They chose their grandmother as their subject; before she passed away, they spent about a decade interviewing her on camera, and after her death in 2011, they spent nearly a year on an “archaeological expedition” in her house, probing through her belongings and assembling “portraits” of her and their family history from what they found.

The resulting documentary is not a narrative so much as a cloud of knowing, a catalog of a family that is unexpectedly affecting even though most viewers won’t have any reason to care about this particular family. It’s also a moving tribute to a grandmother and a poignant reflection on memory and time.