Saturday, February 24, 2007

Reading and the Movies

Since we have been living much of the time in Mexico for the last five years, I've dropped a bit behind on my reading....and my Amazon wish list has grown and grown (but that's another story.) I brought down a box of books when we came back after the first of the year and I'm gradually going through the box. So I may be commenting on some books that everyone else read a year or so ago.

I just finished reading Patricia Bosworth's book, Diane Arbus. The book, while it is a biography of Diane Arbus life, is also a facinating look at New York City's culural history of the 50's and 60's. Although I was familiar with Arbus' photography and it's almost snapshot look of strange people, I had no clue about her life and her methods of getting these images. And I suppose I had never seen a photograph of Arbus because I had pictured her a dumpy, chubby woman with double chin and wild hair. A kind of in your face, intimidating woman. She may have been intimidating in some ways but she wasn't as I had pictured her.

Now I have this movie in my head of the elegant apartments where she grew up in NYC during the Depression, of the private schools she attended, of the places she lived after she married Allan Arbus, of the fashion shoots. I can see the parties she went to....the smoke, the talk, the intrigue, the music, the New York art scene. I can see her struggle with what she grew up thinking she should be and what her heart was telling her to be. And I can see her falling more and more into depression despite her fight against it.

Now I'm wondering how the movie Fur that is taken from the book is going to measure up to what is in my head. The majority of the reviews about the movie aren't giving it a very high rating. But then there are those like this one from the Telluride Review: Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, is a beautiful, elegant, poem of a film, and yet, like Arbus herself, it's so strange it almost defies description.

Earlier I read that the film was to have been released in November, 2006 but so far I think it has only shown in a few art film theatres. I have the film on my Netflix queue but it is listed as unknown when it will be available. Maybe they are re-editing it. But if it is as the reviewer from Telluride says, a beautiful, elegant, poem of a strange it almost defies might kind of fit the movie in my head.

Have any of my readers seen this film? What did you think?

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