...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

October 19, 2006

Art School Confidential - 5

If nothing else, this film sparked quite the conversation between a friend and me. I mentioned how I thought the film worked as a kind of satire on art and the art school culture (I imagine most of the information from the film comes from Daniel Clowes'(Ghost World) experience). Since the film is an indie picture, and listed as comedy/drama, I got the feeling early on that the main character was not the hero, but rather the shlub.
The basic narrative is that Jerome (Max Minghella) wants to become like Picasso, a great painter. He finds his muse in Audrey (Sophia Myles), a model who poses nude for his class. Jerome continues to pursue Audrey throughout the film. The sub-plot is that a strangler is killing people in the neighborhood, and this provides material to show the culture of the school (weird roommates, cocky alumnus, and inspiration for art). The film's ending to me dripped of irony and satire. But the film could also be a dialectic about authenticity and facade in art, and how art must tell the truth for it to be truly good. If the main character is the hero, then he is seen as the authentic one among posers and people who are not genuine about themselves and their art. It is interesting that the film does not make any comments on art through the medium of film (by this I mean the cinematography is pretty standard to any other film, while Love is the Devil uses shots as part of the narrative). All the signs point me to see the film as having a subtle message that art will always be clouded with the unknown, it is not meant to have some rationalistic basis, thus the narrative works as a satire to show the absurdity of how rational we have turned art into (the smirk on John Malkovich's face near the end of the film also helps). If nothing else this film makes questions of the purpose and meaning of art come out in audience conversation.

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