Fashion & Violence

L'Amour Fou (2010), Valentino, the last emperor (2008), Lagerfeld Confidential (2007)

Karl Lagerfeld as a young lover
Valentino pushed out of his own company

Yves Saint Laurent A True Fucking Artist

So guess what: I'm watching a lot of crap on streaming services (the legal ones) alone. Like when Pablo sleeps or is falling asleep I'm hooked on a dumb series called Life Unexpected. But before I got seriously addicted on that one, I went through a fashion phase. I felt strange sympathy and caring for these luxury boys with their Marrakech lovers and marble table tops and a million meters of silk. I yearned for the freedom to create and overrule everybody else's needs. Oh to be a male genius of the 20th century – a fashion designer. 
I began with L'Amour Fout and fell in love with Yves. Now I want to own vintage Saint Laurent clothes in ridiculous flowery silk or in anything really. Yves became the prisoner of his own ridiculous success, which entombed him already in his early 20s. He followed Christian Dior at the Dior house before starting his own line. Yves was a tragic character. So unhappy, so loved and so privileged. I don't need to feel sorry for these guys. Yet, I nearly cried when his life partner sold all their art in a Christies auction some years after Yves passed.

Valentino represents the kind of fashion that's just way too red and classic and tanned for my liking.
Through the documentary I did develop an appreciation for the amazing seamstresses who make the dresses by hand. I also felt for the poor orange tanned Valentino who was so old-school he believed he could stay on in his company which he created when the marketing suits took over and decided it was time to sell the logo on what ever you can and disregard the art of haute couture.

Karl Lagerfeld hides behind his sunglasses, his high collar and his armor of silver and steel, but then his sharp tongue pulls you in. He is clearly very intelligent and very fucked up. I like that he looks down on fashion and designing and takes up all other kinds of art forms as well. He plays, changes and acts like a big kid. But what the hell happened to him that made him so frightened to open up? What is he hiding under that uniform hardness? Look at that old photo on the beach. Karl gazing at me much like Marilyn Monroe. No wonder I found the pic on a site called Instant Boner...
(A sidenote: why is it that the clothed image of a woman has been defined by a gay male view for so long?)

Django Unchained (2012) Directed By Quentin Tarantino

Since our son was born, something has drastically changed about our viewing habits. Astrid tends to watch a lot of stuff during the day (when there is a spare moment). I watch a lot of movies after everyone has gone to bed. I was watching some stuff from Netflix (which remains Astrid's domain), but I'm more of a DVD man. So we now watch a lot of movies at different times. Django Unchained I went to see with a friend on a rare night out. It's the first Tarantino movie I've looked forward to in a long time. Quentin was born to write and direct a Western and a Spaghetti-loving one at that.

The many influences that crop up in Django Unchained have been well documented since the film's release (and a recent article in Sight & Sound is a good place to start if you're interested). But just to say – the well used Morricone music in the movie is offset with some direct nods to Spaghetti Western The Great Silence and a nice cameo from original Django Franco Nero. Tarantino adds dollops of Blaxploitation movie attitude to the mix combined with his usual convoluted dialogue. Christopher Waltz is becoming THE Tarantino actor, the relish and skill with which he admonishes his lines here (as the conscientious bounty-hunter Dr. King Schultz) being one of the highlights of the film. Jamie Fox plays our (anti-) hero with the required cool (especially with some of the outrageous costumes he dons). Special mention to Leonardo DiCaprio who plays villain Calvin Candie with a nudge and a wink, but never descending into pantomime. The violence is often gruesome and the humor is thick (Django Unchained has a sense of fun, sometimes). So far so good.

Now come the problems. Django Unchained is too damn long. Tarantino has lost the ability to streamline. Instead of getting a super-funky-head-full-of-steam-creamy-pasta-of-a-movie, at times Django Unchained feels like you're at a disco trying to boogie to the latest Mariah Carey power ballad on a three legged donkey (yeah that sluggish!) Throughout the film QT tires to discuss race, but in the most whitey, simplistic manner. He shows us awful acts of racism, but can never properly delve into the motives. All he offers as a solution is slick retribution. Despite these (quite major) faults this is the best Tarantino picture in along time. At times the screen is filled with inventiveness that only Tarantino can do, moments that take the breath away.


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