Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Eclipse Series 9 - The Delirious Fictions of William Klein |
Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? / Mr. Freedom / The Model Couple
Actor: Delirious Fictions of William Klein
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Studio: Image Entertainment Release Date: 05/20/2008
David DN | Haight Ashbury, Earth | 05/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this because I'd heard about Polly M, and it was a well-recommended film. These three movies are all treasures that clearly belong to the time when they were made but are oh so appropriate for today. One has to hope they are not truly timeless in their satire, but sadly the same targets (media trash, fashion, US government and corporate sponsored terrorism, etc.) have only got bigger and more grotesque over the decades. I guess I want to say these films deserve better presentation, with all the bells and whistles (interviews, essays, trivia, etc.) but they do speak very very well for themselves, with so much prescience. (Freedom fries anyone?)
And did I say that Mr. Klein is a truly competent film maker?"
FUNNY, OUTRAGEOUS, EXCESSIVE
Paco Rivero | Miami, FL | 10/07/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"These aren't great films, nor are they serious artistic achievements. They're low-budget, campy burlesques of contemporary culture. While I couldn't take them seriously, the movies do manage--in their wacky, irreverent, ham-fisted way--to successfully parody the world we live in. MR. FREEDOM, my least favorite of the three movies, centers around a superhero who, when he's not wearing his caped red-white-and-blue crusader uniform, walks around in a slick, tailored suit and cowboy hat. Of course, there's always some nefarious global enemy Mr. Freedom has to defeat. As Klein makes clear, everything and anything can be justified in the name of "freedom," even going nuclear. When freedom becomes a universal pretext, you end up debasing the word, hurting the very cause you claim you are fighting for, and potentially even destroying yourself in the process. At least that is Klein's argument. Klein effectively caricatures the right wing. He skewers -- then roasts them. But subtle he is not. The movie gets too campy and heavy handed.
In WHO ARE YOU, POLLY MAGGOO?, Klein attacks the fashion industry. Polly is a model from Brooklyn who travels to Paris, where she makes a splash in the world of haute couture. Everybody thinks they know Polly, she's just a pretty face with whom everybody is falling in love, including a Prince. But there's much more to her than meets the eye. She becomes the subject of a documentary that seeks to reveal the person behind the glamorous exterior. For awhile, she's all the rage. Still, fads are fickle, and by the end of the movie poor Polly is falling out of fashion. Everybody fell in love with the image, not with the real person behind it, who is more beautiful than the image. This "kaleidoscopic deconstruction" grew out of the years Klein spent as a photographer for Vogue magazine. It's interesting what Klein does here with black and white still photography as well as collages made up of magazine cut-outs.
In THE MODEL COUPLE, an average couple is chosen by the French government, held up as a model for society to study, and subjected to perpetual television monitoring as well as some very intrusive scientific tests. In our age of reality TV shows such as "Big Brother," THE MODEL COUPLE is a portrait of what popular culture has become. There are two wonderful scenes where Klein speeds the movie up, one where the couple set up their furniture in the studio that is now their home, and one where we see them eating together at a table over several days. They eat, argue, make up, kiss -- Klein manages to squeeze a whole relationship into just a few minutes. It's really lovely to watch. Unfortunately, the film too often veers toward parody that is too blunt and excessive for its own good.
The two latter films are in French with optional English subtitles. MR. FREEDOM is in English.
POLLY MAGOO is in black and white. The other two are in color.
Although made in the 60s and 70s, Klein's films are still relevant. Comparisons to George W. Bush, John McCain, Sarah Palin, the war in Iraq, "freedom fries," the Patriot Act, the continued influence of a vapid fashion industry on consumer culture, reality TV, and intrusive government -- all these comparisons are not only inevitable but will, at times, make these movies seem downright prescient. Alas, Klein too often wields a club when a rapier might have been more effective. The films hardly ever manage to climb out of B-moviedom."
Discover William Klein!!!!
Grigory's Girl | NYC | 07/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of Criterion's best Eclipse series. I had never heard of William Klein until recently. The folks at the Sundance Channel had played Klein's film Who Are You, Polly Magoo? a few times, and I really liked what I saw. So I decided to rent the entire series.
William Klein is known for his photography, but during the 1960's, he was an expatriate living in Paris where he made these 3 films, Who Are You, Polly Magoo?, Mr. Freedom, and The Model Couple. Many films from this time period are dated, but these 3 films are still contemporary in their attitudes and are timeless because of Klein's irreverence and excellent mise-en-scene. The best of the bunch is Who Are You, Polly Magoo?. It's a funny, still relevant story of a fashion model being interviewed for a French TV programme that isn't really interested in Polly, just interested in interviewing the "fashion model of the month". There is a lot of funny satire in this film, especially the way Klein satrizes the pretentions of these people and their questionable tastes in "fashion". The framing in this film is especially striking and totally unique, making it one of the best films I've seen in a while.
The 2nd film, Mr. Freedom, has all the trappings of a film that is completely dated. Its central character is literally titled Mr. Freedom, a parody of LBJ and the Vietnam, macho mentality that was especially vivid in the late 60's. But that mentality hasn't really gone away in America, or the world. In fact, many of the lines espoused by Mr. Freedom were said by Bush in the run up to the Iraq War, almost word for word (like "freedom is on the march" and "you're either with us or against us")! Did Bush see Mr. Freedom before his run up to the war? Probably not, but the mentality still exists. Despite Bush being out of the White House, don't think this mentality will ever disappear, here or in the rest of the world. Mr. Freedom has many funny moments, especially a cameo by Jesus and when a son of Mr. Freedom's girlfriend calls him a fascist, and Mr. Freedom's feelings are deeply hurt.
The 3rd film, The Model Couple, is a Truman Show like satire (though it was made years before that, and is funnier and fresher than The Truman Show) of French TV and the French government attempting to find the "model couple", or, find the best way to reach that model couple as consumers first, human beings second. Naturally, the couple doesn't like being manipulated by the scientists, the producers, and the government, so everyone gets on each others' nerves and a children's "terrorist" organisation ends up taking the model couple hostage (on orders from the scientists/producers) for ratings. The movie even has the air headed TV panel discussing the impact of the show. The film, despite being forty years old, is still provocative and valid.
I was really expecting these 3 films to be products of their time, but I was magnificently surprised when I watched them, and didn't feel that anything was dated about them. They are all immensely watchable and intelligently done. Kudos to Criterion/Eclipse for making these films available."