arambilet | Miami, FL USA | 02/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
Summary: Incredible film; bears watching more than once!A review in IMDB can't say it better! - Quote-Excerpt:If you've ever been around "the fashion world," or grown up reading "fashion magazines," you will understand EXACTLY what this film portrays: "Life, Exactly As They Know It!" The "choppiness" and "vagueness" objected to by other reviewers is EXACTLY why this is such a great film, why this is such a "Real" film: anyone who has ever been around "these people" will see exactly how the dialogue mirrors "real life" in the fashion / magazine biz. The "one real scene" between Hemmingway and the photographer (as described by another reviewer) is precisely showing how rare and difficult a "real" moment is to find. In fact, they are ALL "real scenes," wherein lies their power. The scene where the daughter, (not "drug addled," by the way, as described by another reviewer) who is the antithesis of "fashion," describes how reading magazines "makes her feel bad about herself" and her mother's instant rejection and leaving of the restaurant, is telling precisely the truth. And then any woman who rejects "fashion standards" is left alone at the table. The emptiness of the life and the constant ebb and flow of current, changing tides, makes any real or lasting connection impossible. This is even alluded to with Paul Sorvino in one discussion about going to the hip-hop look: something to the effect of "in Europe, classic can last... in America, you have to keep moving!" Then the hip hop boys point out that the baggy-pants hip hop look was born from poverty and "10 brothers and sisters, but the suburban kids will follow" even at an unaffordable $150.00 a pop! But that's the game!" Until I saw this film, I never understood why I was not accepted - could never connect with anyone in the "Fashion Crowd" when I lived in Paris and New York. Now I know why. What was there to connect to? People who "didn't want to be nothing" People who made their living preying on others creativity and beauty, at the cost of making everyone else feel like "less?" An industry that feeds on people's insecurities and wanting to "fit in?" I liked the daughter the best. She stood alone, sad and lost, but stayed true to herself in the end and went on home, wherever that might be. There are so many profound statements in the dialogue of this film that it would be worth printing every one of them here. Perhaps some film buff / college student might write a dissertation on this film alone. Who sang the beautiful music with hip hop and opera combined? I would love to have a music CD of the film, and am buying the DVD just so I can "listen to the film" again and again. Hope to see more. Thank you all! Great job!"
Only-A-Child | 02/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Wow, I never expected to find myself in the position of defending a film like "Perfume" which I only watched because Angela Bettis had a small role. But having recently viewed similar fashion industry/magazine films, "Fashionably LA" and "The Intern", I am unexpectedly well versed in this narrow sub-genre. Coming from that perspective "Perfume" is a lyrical masterpiece, both more ambitious and more successful than those two disasters. But since everything is relative this comparison may not translate into anything very useful for the prospective viewer.
First on the agenda is a cautionary statement about the trailer, the DVD cover, and the general promotional campaign. The cast is grossly misrepresented. Carmen Electra is given first billing but appears in only one short scene, a wide shot of her talking to Paul Sorvino. Supermodel Estella Warren is highlighted on the promotional poster but is just window dressing in two scenes. The five biggest parts are played by Rita Wilson, Leslie Munn, Joanne Baron, Jared Harris, and Sorvino, none of whom are even mentioned in the promotional materials.
But promotional misrepresentation, even to this extreme, has no relationship to the quality of the film. What "Perfume" has going for it (like Robert Altman's "Pret a Porter") is success working on two levels, as a glimpse inside the fashion industry and as a metaphorical extension (of what it reveals) to our day-to-day struggle in the competitive world. Whether we are artists, artisans, robots, or drones; each day is one of struggle with external competitors and internal demons.
How well the film works for individual viewers will be determined by the identification process, which will naturally be easier for those familiar with the world of high fashion or with other environments where creativity is exploited for profit.
Although "Perfume" was a scripted film there is considerable improvisation in the performances, with mixed results. For example, Harris and Mariel Hemingway do a photographer/model photo shoot where his improv is excellent and hers is somewhat lame. Although this initially seems like poor directing, on reflection it is more authentic than giving Hemingway carefully scripted lines and a smooth delivery.
"Perfume" is recommended for those who might identify with its setting or its themes. The production design, the editing, and the soundtrack are first class. But if you are annoyed rather than challenged by films with an elliptical storytelling technique and many characters you would do well to give this one a wide berth.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child."
A Glimpse Behind the Scenes...
Audra Thomas | 05/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"... of the giddily-demented and lunatic world of high fashion along with its tandem industries, where all the egos come "super-sized". Always with personal dramas big enough to match, as everone is truly an "artiste"... of one type or another, and ALWAYS facing a career-altering and earth-shattering crisis of some kind, it's as if they're all living on some isolated island... cast-off from the real world, sucking-up all the abundant co-dependent and self-perpetuating "it's all about me" energy available just to remain alive, slowing sinking into their own self-importance; they are collectively their own eco/ego-system... but so many of us actually listen to what they have to say!!! Their pronouncements are biblical in proportion. I must admit that I watched this film three times, back-to-back, totally absorbed and fascinated.The many wonderful actors, obviously with specific real people in mind and drawing upon same, superbly paint their characterizations in broadly egocentric stokes, creating a rich glimpse into the closed, insular ghetto-ized world of high fashion, where everone is a STAR... or at least believes themself to be, and certainly behaves "as if ". BRAVO!!!"