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Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006)

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Turning her back on her wealthy, established family, Diane Arbus falls in love with Lionel Sweeney, an enigmatic mentor who introduces Arbus to the marginalized people who help her become one of the most revered photographers of the twentieth century.

Director:

Steven Shainberg
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicole Kidman ... Diane Arbus
Robert Downey Jr. ... Lionel Sweeney
Ty Burrell ... Allan Arbus
Harris Yulin ... David Nemerov
Jane Alexander ... Gertrude Nemerov
Emmy Clarke ... Grace Arbus
Genevieve McCarthy ... Sophie Arbus
Boris McGiver ... Jack Henry
Marceline Hugot ... Tippa Henry
Mary Duffy Mary Duffy ... Althea
Emily Bergl ... Allan's New Assistant
Lynn-Marie Stetson Lynn-Marie Stetson ... Fiona - Naked Girl (as Lynn Marie Stetson)
Gwendolyn Bucci ... Dominatrix
Christina Rouner ... Lois
Matt Servitto ... Handsome Client
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Storyline

In 1958, in New York City, the upper class Diane Arbus is a frustrated and lonely woman with a conventional marriage with two daughters. Her husband is a photographer sponsored by the wealthy parents of Diane, and she works as his assistant. When Lionel Sweeney, a mysterious man with hypertrichosis (a.k.a. werewolf syndrome, a disease that causes excessive body hair), comes to live in the apartment in the upper floor, Diane feels a great attraction for him and is introduced to the world of freaks and marginalized people, falling in love with Lionel. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic nudity, some sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 2006 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Fur See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$16,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$28,815, 12 November 2006, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$220,914, 17 December 2006

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,281,089, 6 January 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

MGM optioned the biography, upon which this film is based ("Arbus"), in 1984 as a possible starring vehicle for Diane Keaton. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end of the movie, Lionel is shown beginning to blow up the canvas raft. He later explains that it is for Diane when he takes his final swim. Someone suffering from such extremely low lung function that he will only live a few months would never be able to inflate a raft that size. See more »

Quotes

Diane Arbus: Why did you throw down the key?
Lionel Sweeney: You looked like you needed to come up to my place.
See more »


Soundtracks

Serenade in Sepia
Written by Peter Cork
Published by Cypress Creek Music
Courtesy of 5 Alarm Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Fur - A Shaggy Romantic Fantasy
20 January 2007 | by Mrs_MillsSee all my reviews

In order to enjoy 'Fur - An imaginary portrait of Diane Arbus,' Stephen Shainberg needs the viewer to suspend all reality and prior knowledge of the American photographer, Diane Arbus. Paradoxically, it's the very use of Diane Arbus' name and knowledge to her life and work, that sets this film up to fail on a grand scale.

What becomes apparent quite early on with the casting of the beautiful WASPish and glamorous Nicole Kidman as the anti-glamorous Jewish Diane Arbus, is that Shainberg didn't get Arbus or what her work was about (unsentimental realism) and seems only attracted to Arbus on a superficial level through her photographs of circus freaks.

What follows is a kind of pretty and trivial Beauty & the Beast fantasy biopic with Robert Downey JR as Kidman's hairy fictional love interest. However, it's not the banality of the story that is the main flaw in this film, but the director's misogynistic stance that Diane Arbus, one of the art world's most singular and original woman photographers, was incapable of forming her own ideas about her work. While his previous film 'Secretary' was a study of female masochism, his continued portrayal of the female as submissive spoils this film completely - and flys in the face of the real life Diane Arbus' courage, tenacity and fearlessness in single-handedly exploring the often shady world of outsiders.

Imagine an imaginary biopic on pop star Madonna's life with Guy Richie as her Svengali, the man behind her career, and you'll get a feel of how seriously flawed and imaginary this film is: It can only work if you have absolutely no knowledge of the subject, or just choose to ignore all the facts.

It's a shame because once you remove all reference to Diane Arbus, this film could have stood up on its own as an interesting study on fetishism and a good companion piece to Secretary. 4/10


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