Melbourne, Australia-born and Toronto-based Angie Bird, an advertising art director turned commercials director is grabbing at the brass ring with her first documentary, “You Won’t Regret That Tattoo,” one of the films in the “Shorts Program: Odds and Ends” at this year’s AFI DOCS festival. It’s not much—talking heads (and body parts) for most of its 13 minutes, but the eight subjects who reveal themselves to her camera are a fascinating bunch. They’re from an older generation (mine) and they provide informative answers to the big question. Why?
They ruminate, quite well, filling in the blanks for the “I got my tattoo because…” answer. Everyone has his or her reason, usually involving someone close—a family member, a friend. For fun, on a lark, as a memorial, to commemorate life occasions, for a loved one, to heal emotionally. You get the succinct, quick, yet fervent back stories, filmed in a shadowy, desaturated aura (from cinematographer Viktor Cahoj).
They come in all flavors: Snakes, mushrooms, the name of a loved one, naked women, birds, butterflies, hearts, cupcakes.
They come in all ages: Some did it in their teens, Frank did it at 20, while Monica waited until she was 56. Someone does it for the first time in the film.
They come in all places: Arms, legs, backs, butts, feet, etc.
Favorite line (regarding the people who need to give you their slanted thoughts on your tattoos): “Opinions are like a******s. Everyone’s got one and they all stink.”