Helen Highly Compelled to Comment: Takes one to know one! Ron Simon is Senior Curator for Television for Paley Center for Media, and as a devoted archivist and historian (and possible obsessive hoarder), he surely sees a kindred spirit in Marion Stokes. His ability to understand the extraordinary historical significance of what Marion created speaks to his expert insight. His admiration of her speaks perhaps to something else, more personal. I find it interesting and odd that Ron sees a romantic love story behind the film’s pained narration by Marion’s long-suffering son Michael and her husband John’s reported fear of Marion learning of any interaction he had with his deserted daughter from a previous marriage.
Television thrives on the neurotic lunacy of hoarders, but rarely do we experience the passion and purpose of a methodical collector, who really made a difference. Matt Wolf’s masterful documentary, Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project takes us into the visionary psychic and cluttered physical worlds of a woman who turned her acquiring fury into a unique archive of contemporary history. Recorder had its world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival 2019.