Died Young, Stayed Pretty is a candid look at the underground poster culture in North America. This unique documentary examines the creative spirit that drives these indie graphic artists. ...
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Died Young, Stayed Pretty is a candid look at the underground poster culture in North America. This unique documentary examines the creative spirit that drives these indie graphic artists. They pick through the dregs of America's schizophrenic culture and piece them back together. What you end up with is a caricature of the black and bloated heart that pulses greed through the US economy. The artists push further into the pulp to grab the attention of passersby, plastering art that's both vulgar and intensely visceral onto the gnarled surfaces of the urban landscape. The film gives us intimate look at some of the giants of this modern subculture. Outside of their own circle, they're virtually unknown. But within their ranks they make up an army of bareknuckle brawlers, publicly arguing the aesthetic merits of octopus imagery and hairy 70s porn stars. They've created their own visual language for describing the spotty underbelly of western civilization and they're not shy about ...Written by
Watch the trailers and you'd have seen the whole film
Since there's no screening of the film near my place, I bought the DVD because I've seen it being mentioned all over the place. Bad decision. This is my most regretful DVD purchase of all time.
In an interview with Dazed & Confused, the director said an insider of the indie poster world told her that it's smart of her not to create an narrative, so the artists got to speak for themselves.
"Not creating a narrative" is such an understated way of describing what the problem of this "documentary" is. It's not that the director doesn't force her view onto the interviewees; it's that the director has no idea how to convey "anything." Throughout the film, unless you already have some pre-existing knowledge of the "who what where" before you started watching it, you would not get any decent idea of who is talking, what he has done, what his style is like, or even what exactly is being talked about on screen RIGHT NOW. (I use only "he," because I don't recall seeing any female artist in it.) The whole film is just itsy-bitsy slices of interviews clumsily strung together. The sound engineering is bad and ruins whatever cool soundtracks there are, and the cinematography always horrible. The only thing interesting about the film is its subject, and the most amazing feat it has accomplished is managing to render something as fascinating as this into something so deeply dull and confusing to a viewer.
Besides, what wrong with having a good narrative? Not conveying things properly, i.e., not having a good narrative, is different from not "having" a narrative at all. If something is conveyed, a narrative angle has inevitably been chosen. This film has narratives; it's just that the director either is unaware of what storytelling/ a narrative is or is so bad at making films that she has to console herself by saying that it's not that she has made a bad film but that she's done the very groundbreaking thing of making a documentary film that has no narrative, which is as self-contradictory as it can get, since a documentary is nothing but a narrative constructed of chosen pieces of curated facts.
Watch all the trailers of it on YouTube and imagine playing them over and over for one and a half hours and you'd have seen the film. Really.
I rate it 2 out of respect for the artists featured and the research the director supposedly has done and all the other effort gone into making it, but 0 for the film itself.
All the media and blogs that have featured this film out of the kindness of their hearts have done their readers a disservice by failng to also mention what problem it has, namely its unwatchability.
Instead of making a film that has all the signatures of a hipster cred-mongering piece of "art" but none of the signatures of "art," such as a certain point of view and at least some signs of the "artist"'s being aware of the related issues that could be explored with the piece and questions that could be raised, the director would have done better by just compiling a book of interviews, which at least has the advantage of easy referencing.
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