Friday, 4 February 2011

Friday Photo Day #5

...And now for something slightly different...

I'm having trouble streamlining this blog. It lacks cohesion at the moment and I think it lacks any sort of conviction or 'voice'. I called it Amateur Eye, after all, so I'm never going to impart any words of any great, profound artistic understanding but still... I sort of want to scrap the whole thing and start again.

But... until that day when my much-needed cohesion is found: today's focus (notice how I blithely use the word 'focus' having just ascertained that this blog lacks any?) is... this film: High Art (director and writer: Lisa Cholodenko, 1998)

It's not a photo... per se. But it's filmed in such a way that so many of its frames could be a photograph taken by, say, Nan Goldin (whose life and work has influenced the film). (Cinematographer is Tami Reiker.)

The leads are mesmerising: Radha Mitchell as the wide-eyed but ultimately ambitious editor Syd, the fabulous Ally Sheedy as Lucy, a formerly celebrated photographer now struggling to find her own focus (waaait, I see a theme here) and Patricia Clarkson as her lover Greta, a once-great German film actress, with some of the best, most barbed lines in the film: "I'm Greta. I live for Lucy. ... I mean, I live here. With Lucy." ... "You know, Fassbinder always told me, the ugliest quality in a woman... is vanity."


Also worthy of an honorable mention: Syd's "boss", Harry (played by David Thornton). Vile, misogynistic, self-serving... ugh. Ultimately brilliant. The scene where he bluffs his way through a meeting with photographic ingenue Dieter Schult (Rudolf Martin -- Buffy's Dracula!), is contradicted by his glacial colleague Dominique and goes on to belittle Syd... just perfect. Art-world-power politics.

But I digress.

The soundtrack is also astounding -- written by Shudder to Think; it's trippy, sultry and transcendent. A perfect fit.

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