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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well, no review yet for this documentary about the most famous painter
in Norway. Well, I guess I am first then. FIRST! Couldn't resist that
one. Well, let's begin. From the very first word I heard about the
artist Terje Brofos a.k.a Hariton Pushwagner among the media and word
of mouth. I heard he was a eccentric, but quiet type of artist. Later
in the years that changed. When having seen this film, and the
representation of Pushwagner himself, the eccentricity is there, quiet?
No, but not over-the-top. The two directors spent three years to follow
and make this documentary about him, and parts of his life, the life
including alcohol and narcotics, including his life as bum on the
streets. How he was thrown out from his ex, and his life prior to his
current jet-set life. It also refer to the controversy surrounding a
contract where in which he had signed of the rights to his art, to his
personal assistant. My experience with this documentary is this ...
The documentary starts out with Pushwagner directing the directors of his documentary and tell them how and what he want for the scene. We then cut back to a control-room where Pushwagner is looking over materials for his documentary and seems to be in control of what is to be shown before the audience. It is actually a damn good opening in my opinion, and it shows how creative you can be with this type of film-making too. What follows is, indeed creative too. You see Pushwagner drawing, you see how he sketches people to the paper. Then you see that he is actually drawing the crew that is filming him, while he draws them. They have to sit in the same position, all till he is done. I was at a preview screening of it, and it was big, for those whom had the opportunity to attend such extravaganza. In Oslo, he was to attend and give a speech at Klingenberg Kino (Klingenberg Cinema), where I attended. But I did not get those tickets, too bad indeed. If that would be possible now, I would gladly have done so. It would have made the whole experience even better of what it was.
The film-makers make some interesting narrative moves in the documentary, with him as previously stated, himself directing his own documentary and so. One sequence I particularly liked, and has stuck to my mind as I write this: It is a scene where he orders the directors to film him, on a balcony. Behind him, is what I can make out of it, some pretty big artists, in a chain. He then opens his arms and greet the audience that witness his ultimate rise to fame and glory, as he won the prestigious art-award of Oslo. In the last shot, we see the original background changes, and transform into his own art, while he greet his audience. In my words, as I sat and saw this: Epic! I went there.
The whole Pushwagner popularity has risen to a form of iconic representation. The way Pushwagner creates his imagery is indeed in the high form of imaginative ways to paint. His style of drawing and so, is inspirational and you see some of the artist's work in the documentary, rendered to look like a 2D image with 3D capabilities. Those sequences would look delicious in the 3D-Format, no doubt. What I mean when I say Meta-Documentary, is this; In the documentary, he mentioned the word Meta and I assume he is talking about the way the film is made, is meta indeed. I liked this piece of documentary, and I highly recommend it, for the people of special interest, and everyone actually. This is a film, you have to see to believe, a nice little gem. I am going all balls out here again, to say; This has a cult-potential in the making, because it feel very like that type of film (that only reaches out to a special kind of people).
I like his paintings (especially "JobKill"), and of all that. The man himself, represented in the documentary, is a person that would take in my eyes time to get used to. No offense, but this man is an unpredictable enigma with a strong and interesting background.
The well known Norwegian documentary film maker Even Benestad has here
made what I would call a meta documentary about the former drug addict
Terje Brofos, which is now widely known as his alter ego (Hairston
Pushwagner). The film starts off in a way where we understand that
Pushwagner himself takes control over the documentary, with all his
strange and original ideas. With the perfect music score bade by
Ugress, we see an artful documentary witch shows both the man and the
Pushwagner has the distinct known face of a drug addict. Lots of scars from needles and life, thin, marked facial structure the drug voice and the lack of teeth. Still he is a charming man, always wearing a black suit, often with a black cowboy hat. One original man, without any doubt. A rock'n'roll artist in all aspects. Appropriately enough the film is filmed both in black and white and color.
His art is industrial, cosmopolitan, pop culture, repetitive, giving a Kafkaesque feel. His works goes for great money. Deservedly do. His art is very interesting, and highly exciting. I find myself really wanting some of his work.
I recommend this film both to film lovers, as I would for art lovers, of course. The documentary film work must have been such a challenge with this original. Once again great work from Benestad's hands, just like when he made the documentary about his transvestite father. This film will be much appreciated for years to come, as his works will be guaranteed more and more appreciated and expensive.
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