Monday, 25 May 2009
The thing which strikes me the most about this film (besides the amazing fashion, the champagne and the tons of cakes and macarons which, as the French would say, "me mettent l'eau à la bouche") is the feeling of intimacy with Marie Antoinette that I get. Approaching this subject in a non-epic, non-judgmental way is not usual, although this very intimate, very sensual way of filming is typical but also exclusive from Sofia Coppola. Pastel tones, a classic elegance and a very pictural photography remind me of the frivolous paintings of Fragonnard. The film got all kinds of reviews because of its non-orthodox soundtrack and atrezzo, but I love the way this is a very Pop Marie Antoinette without ever falling on any easy clichés and with a very good historical background. The film is a true hommage to the exhuberance of Versailles and its gardens, to the french definition of luxury and to the "joie de vivre" in general. Some days ago I heard Sofia Coppola is preparing her fourth film, which will be set on the infamous Chateau Marmont Hotel in California, and will tell the story of a decadent rockstar and his daughter. A plot that would seem "banale" if it was made by any other filmmaker, but with Coppola we can all expect pop culture references, a delicate approach to emotions and aesthetics, a great soudtrack and an otherworldly light. At the very least.
Friday, 1 May 2009
QUI ETES-VOUS POLLY MAGGOO?
How was the life of a supermodel in the sixties? In this film, William Klein unveils, with a crazy surrealist-inspired aesthetic, many a secret about the fashion world. It's the story of Polly, an american model living her (short) moment of glory in Paris. A team of french TV producers follow her around all day long, trying to understand the fastly evolving fashion system from Haute Couture to mass market for twig-looking teenagers, from fashion Divas (the character of the fashion editor was largely based on Diana Vreeland and earned Klein a lot of dislike in certain fashion circles) to modelstruck princes. What does a supermodel want? What does a supermodel care about? Polly is predictable and surpising at the same time. She has pretty much the dreams and problems of every girl, except she's being "manipulated" in a most particular way. And, at last, everything ends just as fast as it had begun. Those of you who have not seen it need to do it. It's definitely a "perle rare" of the sixties cinema.
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Let's forget about all the cliches. Why is James Dean an icon having only made three films? I don't think it's because of all that "too fast to live, too young to die" babble. It's simply because he was young, fresh and spontaneous. There was a certain innocence and there is still an enduring ambiguity about him, which continues to fascinate and intrigue us. When looking at him, one sees a confused, awkward and insecure boy starting to experiment with life. He was not a superman, just a normal boy. He will always represent the essence of youth.
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
What do Guy Bourdin's girls think? Do they actually think? What is fascinating about Bourdin's pictures (apart from the bright precious stone-like colours, so audacios and sensual) is the fact that the models have the look of nearly alive mannequins. A subtle paradox specially in the fashion world where Bourdin did most of his work (in collaboration whith french shoe brand Charles Jourdan). These images are of course erotic; not just bold provocation, but a very personal view on sexyness. Pain and pleasure don't seem to matter much in a world where reality and the artificial live together, and in which Bourdin explores the problems and insecurities of women in their relationships: power, desire, love and fetish obnubilate their minds. Is it Bourdin's way of criticizing the fashion world?
Saturday, 4 April 2009
Lately I feel so Sixties. It's difficult not to be nostalgic (of a time when I wasn't even born) when watching films like "Blow Up", Michelangelo Antonioni's masterpiece and one of the most amazingly hallucinogenic insights in the 60s music, fashion and attitudes. Starring David Hemmings as a David Bailey alter ego of sorts, the film has in it some of the greatest talents of the decade: Jane Birkin, Vanessa Redgrave, Veruschka, Peggy Moffit... And of course the Yardbirds. We can really feel the change from mod to psychedelic as the film goes by and there is a sense of freedom and that everyhting is possible in it that I think has completely disappeared nowadays. If you have never seen it, do; if you already have, watch it again. It's one of those films you never get tired of. As for me, in these very 80's inspired times, I will still stand for the 60's utopism, creativity and edgyness!
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
When looking through fairytale books nowadays, I can't help but noticing just how hideous most illustrations are. There are various illustration trends, all of them equally ugly: the "postmodern" illustration, usually made very obviously by computer and which just looks "fake", the "naive" illustration, which looks like the illustrator thinks children are idiots, or the "arty" illustration, of which I'd rather not speak. All those self-proclaimed illustrators should just look back to the ultimate classic of fairytale illustration (we all remember his Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland versions), Arthur Rackham. His style, between Preraphaelite and Art Nouveau was simple, detailed, narrative, with a very airy and free trace that makes us think his characters are in a world which has less gravity. In his work, fairies and other characters, subtle and fragile but still real, bathe in the rare light of fantasy. I am not a big fan of fairies, trolls and gnomes, still Arthur Rackham's illustrations make me dream...