- Follow us@AustinChronicle
As a young man, Bud Clayman wanted to become a filmmaker, but a number of diagnoses – helpfully detailed in the film’s title – derailed him. Eight years at an institution followed a nervous breakdown; eventually, Clayman put aside his Hollywood aspirations to work in his father’s business. But he never stopped dreaming, and this documentary, co-directed by Clayman, marks both the realization of that lifelong dream and an intriguing, if incomplete, accessing of the way Clayman’s brain works. The internal thought process – a typically tricky thing to dramatize – is crucial to understanding what makes Clayman tick (and occasionally go boom), and the filmmakers incorporate clever techniques to illustrate his inner workings, as when he watches the studio playback of himself sitting on a bus. As Clayman watches, he records a monologue that explains in harrowing detail his discomfort, thoughts of rage, and the therapeutic mantras that calm him ("live with the risk"). Clayman is candid, to a point, but he pulls back at times where a less personally invested filmmaker would push harder, as in a brief allusion to dark sexual thoughts or a snippet of an interview with his father, the film’s financier, who speaks of “letting him do this.” His co-directors don’t press either issue. It’s unclear where the buck stops in terms of creative authority – at one point, Clayman complains that “the only thing I feel in control of is the money" – which renders OC87 at once a remarkable achievement, and a fatally compromised film.