Wednesday, September 05, 2007

first karen carpenter, now bob dylan

I'm really looking forward to seeing Todd Haynes' Bob Dylan biopic, I'm Not There, which just debuted at the Venice Film Festival. In the film, six actors, Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger, Marcus Carl Franklin, Christian Bale, Ben Whishaw and Richard Gere, all embody a different aspect of Bob Dylan's life and work.

Even if you're not familiar with Todd Haynes' work, you've probably heard about his infamous 43-minute cult treasure "Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story", which uses Barbie and Ken dolls to tell the tragic story of Karen Carpenter. Here it is in all its brilliance:

Todd Haynes - 43 min 19 sec - Jan 1, 1987

"...Seizing upon the inspired gimmick of using Barbie and Ken dolls to sympathetically recount the story of the pop star's death from anorexia, he spent months making miniature dishes, chairs, costumes, Kleenex and Ex-Lax boxes, and Carpenters' records to create the film's intricate, doll-size mise-en-scene. The result was both audacious and accomplished as the dolls seemingly ceased to be dolls leaving the audience weeping for the tragic singer.

Unfortunately, Richard Carpenter's enmity for the film (which made him look like a selfish jerk) led to the serving of a "cease and desist" order in 1989, and despite the director's offer "to only show the film in clinics and schools, with all money going to the Karen Carpenter memorial fund for anorexia research, "Superstar" remains buried, one of the few films in modern America that cannot be seen by the general public.

Now finally you have a chance to see this piece."

Interesting bit of trivia - I learned how to speak English by listening to The Carpenters (and John Denver) over and over, as well as by watching I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched.


Urban Memo said...

A coworker of mine also learned english by listening to the carpenters. i wonder how common that is.

Maria said...

I saw this film a few years ago and it is awesome. What a talented visionary.