Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession | Chicago Reader

Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession

Xan Cassavetes (daughter of John, her first name short for Alexandria) assembled this troubling video documentary about Jerry Harvey, a fanatical Los Angeles film buff who spent eight years programming the legendary pay-cable outlet the Z Channel. Seriously bipolar, Harvey killed his wife and himself in 1988, and Cassavetes performs the difficult task of reconciling his tragic personal life with his professional legacy (a highly adventurous programmer, he helped establish the contemporary audience for directors' cuts and in the process befriended such filmmakers as Sam Peckinpah and Michael Cimino). Both the clips and the talking heads are well chosen, providing a fascinating look at a particular subculture in Cassavetes's hometown. 122 min.

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