Monday, February 20, 2012

2 Sundance Films - Reviewed by Ashley Kerner

About Face

Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

This documentary shows several different interviews with famous aging models. The interviews discuss how the women got into the modeling business, the drug scene in which they were involved, their views on beauty as well as their views on cosmetic surgery and aging. When these women first began modeling being a model was a profession that was extremely looked down upon, one model’s mother thought being a model meant that she was a hooker. Some of the girls became models on purpose but many were just doing it as a summer job for extra cash. All of the models admitted that although they were just fifteen and sixteen at the time their careers first began they all suffered eating disorders, self-image issues as well as drug and alcohol abuse problems. During the interviews they all admitted that they knew many girls who fell to the drug and party scene and that they were lucky themselves to have been able to get out of the situations they were in. Some of the models shown were retired or working in other professions, these former models overwhelmingly were against plastic surgery and advocated beauty from within, while majority of the women who were still modeling had a nonchalant attitude towards cosmetic surgery many of whom had already had several procedures done at the time of the filming. The film ended with a group portrait of all of the former models.

On a scale of one to ten, this film would be a two. This film is more mainstream than independent because it pushes the value that cosmetic beauty, which is a topic often pushed by mainstream media, can lead to happiness. Even when a few of the models were stating that they were against plastic surgery, many of those models were later shown listing their favorite fashion designer and makeup products.

The mythic value this film supports is cosmetic beauty and consumerism of beauty products and procedures. This film emphasizes the importance of looking youthful because most of these women were forced to give up modeling after they reached the age of thirty and this film reinforces the myth that beauty and happiness can be bought with plastic surgery, the right makeup and fashionable clothes.

About the Pink Sky

Director: Keiichi Kobayashi; Screenwriter: Keiichi Kobayashi

This film is about a high school girl named Izumi. Izumi has a pessimistic view of life and spends her free time rating newspaper articles. She finds a wallet with 300,000 yen in it. The ID in the wallet says that it belongs to a rich boy at school whose father is a corrupt politician. Izumi lends some of the money to a poor old man who promises to pay her back when he gets a job. Izumi’s friends force her to return the wallet, but because of the missing money the wallet’s owner demands that the three girls help him write a newspaper of only good news for his friend who is sick in the hospital. Izumi discovers that this “friend” is actually the wallet owner’s gay lover and the articles she has been writing are now a newspaper for the entire hospital. The wallet owner fires the three girls and reveals that he has been making money off their articles, putting them under his own name. The poor old man gives back the money Izumi lent him and tells her that he now has a well paying job writing good news articles for the hospital paper. Izumi returns the money to the wallet owner to discover that his hospitalized boyfriend has died. Izumi brings herbs to be burned with the body that will create pink smoke.

On a scale of one to ten, this film would be a nine. This film is more independent than mainstream because the story line is not easy to follow. This film is seen through the eyes of a very eccentric girl who likes to do strange things, does not like to operate on the basis of traditional logic and who likes to become friends with strange people. Another independent aspect of this film was that it involves the lives of two gay children.

The mythic dimension this film portrays is that we live in a utopia. This film ended with a great message that although it is easy to look at the daily news and be pessimistic about life, if we look hard enough then we will see that everything around us is good, we just have to look at things from a different perspective.

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