Mark Rappaport's creative bio-pic about actress Jean Seberg is presented in a first-person, autobiographical format (with Seberg played by Mary Beth Hurt). He seamlessly interweaves cinema,...
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A video essay exploring the frequency and meaning of that particular prop in a wide variety of Sirk movies. Is it a device that traps and keeps women in an artificial world with a limited ... See full summary »
Mark Rappaport's creative bio-pic about actress Jean Seberg is presented in a first-person, autobiographical format (with Seberg played by Mary Beth Hurt). He seamlessly interweaves cinema, politics, American society and culture, and film theory to inform, entertain, and move the viewer. Seberg's many marriages, as well as her film roles, are discussed extensively. Her involvement with the Black Panther Movement and subsequent investigation by the FBI is covered. Notably, details of French New Wave cinema, Russian Expressionist (silent) films, and the careers of Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, and Clint Eastwood are also intensively examined. Much of the film is based on conjecture, but Rappaport encourages viewers to re-examine their ideas about women in film with this thought-provoking picture. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
When Mary Beth Hurt auditioned for the role of Jean Seberg, she shocked the filmmakers by revealing that not only was she born in the same town as Seberg (Marshalltown, Iowa), their families were neighbors who knew each other. See more »
Wow! What a revelation this film is. It examines the life of Jean Seberg and how it is destroyed by her acting career. It is a complex film, one that really defies explanation. It combines film clips from her films and the films of other movie stars with dialogue spoken by Mary Beth Hurt as Jean Seberg. From her early career as a terrible actress in Preminger's Saint Joan to her quick comeback in Goddard's Breathless to her slow descent into madness after being hounded by the FBI, the film examines how the events affected the actress and also what they say about the world of Hollywood. The roles that women are offered are compared with those that men get. The function of the closeup is explained with examples dating back to the earliest films. The parallels in the careers of Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, and Seberg are shown. Seberg is also compared with Clint Eastwood and the development of his career through closeups is compared to hers. All of this may sound mundane, but it is not.
The film exposes the assumptions of Hollywood and the effects of these assumptions on the audience. An earlier reviewer says that it is revisionist history, but it is simply an honest look at what Hollywood did then and still does today to women. Who are our big stars? Julia Roberts, who played a hooker to become famous. Demi Moore, who is paid to reveal her fake breasts. And about 8200 men. Calling this film politically correct or feminist simply allows the reviewer to ignore the facts that it presents. After seeing it, the viewer will never see film the same way again.
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