Jun 12

SFF2010 Genius Within: the inner life of Glenn Gould

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The next film I saw was a doco on Canadian born pianist Glenn Gould called Genius Within: the inner life of Glenn Gould.
This was part of the sounds on screen stream and all the other music docos weren’t really grabbing me. I wasn’t familiar with him or his work but it turned out to be a fascinating and detailed doco. The archival footage of Glenn Gould starting from the 1950s was impressive. Obviously he was celebrated and accomplished enough to have so many recordings and film foootage of him. I quite liked the old footage of Toronto because it’s somewhere I’ve been 3 times.

In the end he becomes more nutty and a recluse but when he was in his twenties, he was quite hot! There are photos of him looking like a cross between Jeff Buckley and Heath Ledger (with a touch of Sean Penn). I’ll have a hunt around and see if I can Here is a link of some pics of him when he was young.
Unfortunately, I had to do a runner to get to the Dendy Opera Quays in time for the next movie, so missed about 5-10 minutes of the end.
Glen Gould - young & hot

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Jun 06

SFF2010 Bill Cunningham: New York

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I chose the doco Bill Cunningham New York because it featured three of my favourite things: photography, fashion and New York City.
Here’s the blurb from Sydney Film Festival website:

Veteran New York Times photojournalist Bill Cunningham has been called ‘The hardest working reporter in New York’ by his own paper. Still peddling the streets at 81, Cunningham’s eye for detail hasn’t diminished with age and his columns ‘On the Street’ and ‘Evening Hours’ which capture New York street style and society events, remain in demand.

He’s a notoriously picky snapper, skipping over Catherine Deneuve because ‘she isn’t wearing anything interesting;’ Vogue editor Anna Wintour remarks that it’s worrying when he doesn’t raise his camera. Cunningham, however, is never knowingly unkind – he’s seeking style and beauty not exposure. His personal life is frugal; he lives in a cramped apartment in Carnegie Hall, eats at delis and dresses in a devoutly practical French workman’s jacket. Cunningham’s wholesale commitment to his work clearly gives him great joy and energy, and makes for an inspiring documentary.

The packed out crowd on Sunday really enjoyed this, there were lots of humorous moments. Bill Cunningham New York was a wonderful portrait of a fantastic photographer and humble man. Yes, he still shoots film (so old school)!! I loved his interactions with his “mac operator” at the NY Times, they were quite funny, driving each other nuts to make his newspaper layout every week. Oh and it name checked Andy Warhol (of course).

Thanks to Josie and Mark for saving seats for us while tucked into a pre-festival quickie lunch at Din Tai Fung with the O’Kwoks 🙂

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Jun 06

SFF2010 Jean-Michel Basquiat – The Radiant Child

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I’ve always liked Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work and this doco filled in all the gaps about his life that I didn’t know or missed from the film Basquiat. This is the 2nd film from this year’s festival that has named checked my all time favourite artist, Andy Warhol.
Unfortunately this screening was marred by a major technical difficulty, namely, there was no sound! The crowd slowly gathered that something was missing about a few minutes in and started calling out their complaints, when the titles said that Mike D et al did the music everyone was pretty miffed. We didn’t want to see any more of the film until the sound was fixed. About half an hour after the scheduled start time, The Radiant Child finally got started (with sound), it would have been a shame to miss out on the great 80s tracks such as Planet Rock and Obsession by Animotion etc. I particularly enjoyed the part where his former girlfriend talks about having a fight with Madonna because she is having an affair with JMB. Anyway another very interesting and comprehensive doco on a great artist.

Here’s the blurb:

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s life story, directed by his close friend Tamra Davis, features an expansive mid-80s interview with the young artist and places his life and career firmly in the context of New York in the 80s. Starting with his graffiti days, the film follows Basquiat’s meteoric rise to multi-millionaire status, his drug taking and nightclubbing, his creative process, the death of his mentor, Warhol, and his own untimely end.

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Jun 03

SFF2010 Beautiful Darling

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I always want to see any doco or film relating to Andy Warhol. I know he used and dismissed his Factory Superstars quite easily, so it was great to see this doco on the famous Candy Darling.
Made very famous by Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side, she starred in some of Warhol’s films in the 60s/early 70s and a play by Tennessee Williams. This doco had lots of great archival footage and recordings from her friends & associates. That is why it’s important to document everything (see Exit Through the Gift Shop review for more on this).
A short film called Last Address was shown before the doco, it recorded the facades of the last known addreses of artists who died of AIDS related diseases in New York such as Keith Haring. That was pretty deep.
I thought Candy Beautiful Darling was very well done and really interesting. I did notice that Dave nodded off a few times but that’s ok – he’s been working really hard recently.

An inspiration for artists such as Lou Reed, Robert Mapplethorpe, Tennessee Williams and Andy Warhol, Candy Darling was a glittering figure in New York’s 60s bohemia. She was born James Slattery and grew up in suburbia, just as the song says, ‘Candy came from out of the Island.’ Her fame was found in Warhol’s Factory films such as Flesh (68) and Women in Revolt (71), but she yearned for the glamour of a Hollywood career.

The star persona she created belied an impoverished, often lonely existence, as revealed in interviews with friends and colleagues (Jackie Curtis, Holly Woodlawn, Penny Arcade, Paul Morrissey, Fran Lebowitz and John Waters), and intimately in her diaries and letters (read by Chloë Sevigny).

Australian Premiere

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