Issue 1 Summer 2012 £6
MILIEU In the debut issue of Milieu – meaning environment – we seek to explore how films influence our environment, and in turn, how the world we live in influences the world of movies. Films do not exist in a vacuum or void. In this first issue of Milieu, we go past the silver screen and discover the realms of fashion, art, music and popular culture. Featuring interviews from industry veterans like renowned Hollywood photographer Terry O’Neill and expert LA based composer Fil Eisler – who has created the melodies for an array of films including Humboldt County, Off Season and the recent Natural Selection – as well as fresh-faced independent film maker Ali Graham, we explore and rewrite this boundless industry – joining the dots between the creative industries. The creative industries are continually intertwining and changing - we have set out to show just this in our debut issue, whilst embracing the old and new stars of the film world. Faye Editor
CONTENTS 4 Music Video Blockbusters Those that could and should 6 Terry O’Neill - Capturing Icons 10 From Scroll to Silver Screen Our favourite stories which have made the journey from scroll to screen. 14 Ali Graham Independent film’s freshest face 16 Blaxploitation Does it have a place in today’s film industry? 18 Fashion Moment - The Man from U.N.C.L.E 20 Fil Eisler Movie Maestro 22 The Good, The Bad, and those Inbetween Film’s grey area 24 Fashion’s Favourite Films - Taxi Driver Ones To Watch 26 Advanced Style 28 Hollywood Costume at the V&A 31 The Great Gatsby 32 Ones to Watch Summer 2012
WITH THANKS TO:
Terry O’Neill. Ali Graham. Fil Eisler. Rob de Niet.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO PART OF THIS Image courtesy of PUBLICATION MAY BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE Terry O’Neill OR PART WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE PUBLISHER. MILIEU 2012.
MUSIC VIDEO BLOCKBUSTERS Those that could and should
David Lynch seems to have had a strange influence on the underground music scene in the past year. Simply glancing across the musical landscape today, as broad as it may be, from the dark surrealism of vocalist Chelsea Wolfe to Dirty Beaches, you will notice a peculiar but uniting power at work. Yes, the man who created fantastic and sometimes disturbing films like Eraserhead and The Elephant Man, is being cited as the inspiration du jour. Nowhere is Lynch’s influence more eagerly felt today than in the music, and overall ‘vibe’, of songstress Lana Del Rey, who’s Born to Die caused quite the stir amongst the music elite this year. Take for example her music videos for singles Video Games and Born to Die (conceived by Lana and directed by Woodkid), both stylish, epic, movie-like creations with the drama and substance of a classic picture. Featuring grainy rolls of film and black and white images and lavish displays of Americana, the videos point to the dark side of Hollywood – a distinctive nod to Lynch’s 2001 neo-noir psychological thriller Mulholland Drive. His affect on performers is perhaps rational and fitting; as well as working on soundtracks for his own films and collaborating with producer Danger Mouse and the late Mark Linkous on Dark Night of the Soul, last year the director instigated a musical career of his own, releasing the pulsing electro-pop single Good
Day Today and full-length album Crazy Clown Time, featuring Karen O. But Lynch isn’t the only movie maestro at the centre of pop’s inspiration boards, and it isn’t just the musical talent that have found motivation from the imaginations of some of the world’s leading film directors. Be it 80s new wave band Berlin taking inspiration from Bonnie and Clyde for ‘No More Words’ or Madonna’s ‘Oh Father’ video being peppered with noir characteristics from Orson Welle’s Citizen Kane, or even Tupac and Dr. Dre taking us down to a Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome style wild, wild west, many of the best music video directors and artists have borrowed their concepts from the silver screen. The Killers demonstrate this practice perfectly in the 2004 ‘All The Things I Have Done’ video, with an over the top reference to the 1965 movie Faster, Pussycat Kill Kill - complete with wasteland scenery and beautiful but deadly women. It seems artists, whatever genre of music they practice, cannot get enough of the movie-as-muse. And they’re masterminds to do so. Condensing a classic cinematic visual gem down to three minutes and packing it with a rush of pop, rock or RnB wonder creates a whole new experience, and one which reignites and reiterates our love and admiration for the initial picture. How many of us have revisited and re-watched a film simply because a new music video reminded us of it? It is this feeling of
nostalgia which makes the medium so engaging and enjoyable. And what audience doesn’t love nostalgia? Being re-introduced to great movies is what we believe is one of life’s simple pleasures, and one which can be enjoyed over and over again. But what about the music videos that are not inspired by, or remind is of a particular movie, but instead are so epic that they could or indeed should BE movies. There are so many hit-making promos out there that are good enough for Hollywood. The Kills’ Black Balloon is like a total hipster vampire movie. Roving, dizzy and shaky, it has all the imagery that would sit comfortably on the big screen. Sabotage by The Beastie Boys, with its big-moustached characters and nostalgia spoof, is a 70s cop show parody, with flares and aviators to boot. Or Alison Mosshart and Jack White stomping, leather clad, around a field firing machine guns at each other for Treat Me Like Your Mother. Sexy, wild, violent and exciting, throw in some immense explosive and theatrical action sequences, and you have yourself a feature film. Today’s music videos, instead of simply being performance based pieces, where the band would merely stand on a stage set and mime along to their single, now tell their own stories. Some are beautiful, exciting, often thrilling, and some are as terrifying as some of the Hammer House of Horror classics. And all in under five minutes. And what could be better?
Image courtesy of David Lynch
T E R R Y O ’ N E I L L C A P T U R I N G
o image better captured this stardust, allure and loneliness of Hollywood than Terry O’Neill’s 1977 photograph of his then girlfriend Faye Dunaway reflecting by the pool of the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Academy Award she won the previous night resting on the breakfast table. It defined an era, an actress and an artist. For the past five decades, Terry O’Neill’s photography has captured the frontline of fame. From the Hollywood greats and rockstars to presidents and prime ministers, his images have adorned historic music albums, international magazine covers and movie posters, making him one of the most collected and celebrated photographers worldwide. Back in 1960, O’Neill had never considered a career as a photographer. Wanting to be a musician instead, he began working for British Airways as a technical photographer with the intention of transitioning to air stewardship so he could easily hop over the pond to New York and become a jazz drummer. But it was an art school ‘capturing emotion’ assignment, an entailment of the BA job, which opened his eyes to the world of photography, and in turn uncovered his talent. And it was his picture of the then Home Secretary, Rab Butler - asleep amongst a group of African Chieftons at Heathrow airport which impressed the editor of The (now obsolete) Dispatch, which catapulted O’Neill into the beginnings of a successful photography career. He soon went on to photograph The Beatles and The Rolling Stones when they were yet to hit the big time in 1963 for publication the Daily Sketch, established backstage reportage photography with David Bowie, The Who, Eric Clapton, Elton John and Chuck Berry. And last month a very special exhibit took place at London’s Rook and Raven gallery to honour and celebrate this creative. ‘Terry O’Neill – Reworked’ was a treasure cave of nostalgia, memories and legends brought together with the new. The exhibition of original work in which the creations of one of the 20th Century’s great image-makers, photographer Terry O’Neill, have been reinterpreted by artists of today, was certainly a must for lovers of art, music, film and popular culture. From Elton John to Audrey Hepburn, Terrence Stamp and Raquel Welch, there was something for everyone. And with an array of British and American modern artists having re-envisaged O’Neill’s iconic works of art in their distinctive mediums, the exhibit was fresh and contemporary. Speaking of the display, Terry explains how his photographs, many of which are decades old, had become too familiar to him and having the opportunity to see them updated was a great pleasure, “what I loved about Rook and Raven was having young artists with a fresh eye interpret iconic images for a new generation.” And who are these artists who have given the current generation of art lovers the chance to appreciate such iconic images in a new way? Pam Glew is the talent behind the new bleached Union Jack covered Shrimpton and Stamp portrait, redefining the image which originally defined Jean Shrimpton and the first supermodel in the Sixties. O’Neill himself explains how he “would love to hang that interpretation up at home, but Bill Wyman bought that piece instead.” James Dawe has reworked the classic 1971 Brigitte Bardot image, transforming the windswept, cigar-smoking beauty into ‘Bardot – Hair Waves’. Whilst artists Curtis Kulig, James ‘Dalek’ Marshall and James Mylne have transformed icons Raquel Welch, Elton John, Audrey Hepburn and Sean Connery for today’s audience. Sitting alongside the modified pieces were O’Neill’s original stunning works, contextualising the collaboration and creating the perfect juxtaposition. “Sixties London was so exciting. Every day I was doing something new Mary Quant one day, Jean Shrimpton the next. And for once, we had the say. It was the poor people from the East End taking over from the toffs. People took us seriously.” For O’Neill ‘girls, music and clothes’ defined the Sixties, and along with photographers like Brian Duffy, Terence Donovan and David Bailey, Terry O’Neill created the era. But it was not just who he was capturing that made him such a stand-out photographer, but the way he captured his images. Using a 35mm was a “completely new approach in a time where portraits were regularly taken in studios using lighting and hoods.” O’Neill’s 35mm film, which he could carry around with him, created
a new frank and candid style of photography, which is now his trademark. Hobnobbing and rubbing shoulders with the biggest names of the day, and today’s lasting icons, Terry recalls how Frank Sinatra was the most charismatic Hollywood star - “Frank opened the door to me and I never looked back.” Continuing to work with him for nearly 15 years, O’Neill captured Sinatra’s films, concerts and rehearsals - “he wasn’t that casual character that would come on stage; he really worked at it” - with Frank never once questioning anything the photographer did, “I could walk in whenever I liked and take photographs of whatever I liked.” He recalls Audrey Hepburn as the most photogenic – “you could not take a bad shot of her”- and Brigitte Bardot as “a really great looking woman.” And are there any of today’s celebrities that Terry O’Neill would like to capture? Apart from the late Amy Whinehouse, the answer is no, “the female stars of the 1960s had much more individuality and personality than they do today. Now, they all look the same.” O’Neill remembers the greatest picture he never took to be of Marilyn Monroe - “the reason being that I fancied her PR more than her. I don’t regret it though because it’s harder to find a good woman than a beautiful one.” And what for him makes the perfect picture? “The secret, for me, is for the subject to be totally relaxed and you to see that in the picture.” Understanding that having your photograph taken can be daunting, O’Neill tries to put his subjects at ease - “before a shoot, I read up on the person I intend to photograph so that I get to know them and their idiosyncrasies. It helps to know a bit about the person in front of the camera so you can engage in a conversation with them – for me this is the best way to relax someone and get a great shot.” But it isn’t just his subjects that need relaxing, sometimes O’Neill himself suffers from a bout of nerves, especially when photographing royalty that is. He remembers one of the most surreal moments of his career to be when he was invited to photograph HRH Queen Elizabeth II, “I was extremely nervous for three months before thinking of everything that could go wrong.” But he needn’t have been, “she was a natural of course, having spent her life sitting for portraits.” And hearing she was a fan of horse racing, O’Neill proceeded to tell her an array of equestrian jokes to make put her at ease – “having a giggle with the Queen of England was one of the highlights of my career and I will never forget it.” Capturing some of the greatest Hollywood actors, O’Neill describes the relationship between film and popular culture as “indistinguishable. The synergy between the two has come full circle. Films drove popular culture as a form of entertainment before television and the digital age and now popular culture drives films. You see its influence in movies that are being made to exploit trends in popular culture from computer games that are becoming box office hits to fashion.” Continuing to work with stars like Eric Clapton and Michael Caine, O’Neill maintains the Sixties to be the best time for beauty, popular culture and art, “I think I was born and worked in the most opportune times. The Sixties were such a golden age for photographers. I doubt it will ever happen again.” And now O’Neill has teamed up with Jimmie Martin, the award-winning furniture brand, to create one-off sofas, chairs, armoires and beds – the collection fittingly named ‘Sleeping with the Stars’. The gold-leafed baroque furniture is adorned with Terry’s photographs and then finished off with hand-painted artwork - Madonna chose them to design the throne on which she performed during America’s Super Bowl earlier this year. Bringing the worlds of art, film and music together with his up-close and personal, honest, immediate and intimate photography, O’Neill is one of the most collected and celebrated photographers worldwide; creating masterpieces that defined a generation. But what of this generation and its obsession with ‘celebrity’? “How can today’s celebrities expect to be iconic, they’re not inventing anything. In the Sixties the stars were changing the world, who’s changing the world today? Lady Ga Ga?”
Images courtesy of Terry O’Neill
Jean Shrimpton and Terence Stamp - London, 1963
Mick Jagger - London, 1976 Audrey Hepburn, with dove - St Tropez, 1967
“The stars of my generation were truly talented and individual - they weren’t clones created by brand managers and PRs but were honest and covered in stardust. There are no icons today. Icons are not disposable. We have created a disposable society and we’ve created disposable icons to boot”
F R O M S C R O L L TO SILVER SCREEN 10
From Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs and Viola Davis in The Help to Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn and Meryl Streep as the Iron Lady, every woman nominated for Best Actress at this yearâ€™s Oscars was selected for her performance in an adaptation of a book. Some of the best cinematic creations are those which have been inspired by authors, texts, written characters and a deep love of the original narrative. In celebration, we take a look at our favourite stories which have made the journey from scroll to screen.
Image courtesy of Sophia Coppola ‘The Virgin Suicides’
Image courtesy of Mark Robson ‘Valley of The Dolls’
VALLEY OF THE DOLLS
THE VIRGIN SUICIDES
The 1966 Jacqueline Susann roman à clef novel Valley of the Dolls depicts the private lives of real people under a facade of fiction. Set in the 1940s, the novel tells the story of three young women who move to New York City with grand dreams of notoriety, wealth and love. There is the refined Anne, a secretary turned model, the platinum blonde film star Jennifer and the extremely talented but self-destructive performer Neely. All the women turn to the “dolls”, the downers and barbiturates, at different stages of their lives.
The 1993 debut novel by Jeffrey Euginides centres on the suicides of five beautiful sisters in 1970s American suburbia. Written in the first person plural from the perspective of an anonymous group of teenage boys (openly infatuated with the innocent yet doomed Lisbon girls), the story’s construction relies on remnants and interviews gathered in the two decades after the girl’s deaths.
Much of the story is drawn from Susann’s own experiences and observations as a struggling actress in 1940s Hollywood. The characters are said to be based on, and are interpretations of, Ethel Merman, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Betty Hutton - all women from Susann’s own life. Sex, drugs and so much more, this addictively engaging classic about three showbiz girls clawing their way to the top and hitting rock bottom in the big city really has it all. Harking back to the days of glamour, Hollywood and dapper leading men, Susann paved the way for the tell-all expose, the behind-thescenes scandals, the misery and the ecstasy of success and failure in both life and love. The film adaptation, made the following year by producer Davis Weisbart and director Mark Robson, starred Patty Duke, Sharon Tate and Susan Hayward – who took over the role from Judy Garland – as the success driven trio. With a great soundtrack, featuring Dionne Warwick, which is truly evocative of the Hollywood era, some say it is trashy and camp, but perhaps this is was makes it such exciting viewing. The characters are perfect; Neely O’Hara is brilliantly brought to life by Patty Duke, with her rants, tantrums and journey from innocent girl to pill-popping institutionalised wreck. And Sharon Tate seemed tailor-made for the role of Jennifer. Although there are plot changes, most notably the dramatic change in the ending, and with some arguing it is too camp and vacuous, the film is a great representation of Susann’s original story of fame and debauchery.
Best viewed with friends who can appreciate the film’s frivolous and at times silly nature, Valley of the Dolls is the perfect film for those who love the era, the showbiz, the glamour and the drama which always seems to accompany it.
A beautiful story, filled with in-depth descriptions, observations and memories, we the reader are able to see through the eyes of the besotted boys in this nostalgic tale. The 2000 film adaptation, directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Kirsten Dunst, James Woods, Kathleen Turner and Josh Hartnett, is striking in its aesthetic, delivery and sound – the French band Air created the hauntingly beautiful score. Staying wholly true to the original story, with the narration taken directly from the novel, the film delves into the realms of depression, isolation, teenage angst, love and the eventual breakdown of a family, through a wistful tone of regret, longing and aching. The tone is delicate and controlled but ultimately strikingly unforgettable. Perhaps one of the most powerful aspects of this film is the characters themselves. Whilst Mrs Lisbon, brilliantly portrayed by Kathleen Turner, desperately tries to unearth a cause for the juvenile angst decomposing inside her home, be it the popular music the girls listen to or the young boys in her daughter’s lives, all leading to heightened domestic security, Coppola does not depict her characters as obsessive traditionalists devoid of love and emotion. Every performance is sad and distressing yes, yet bursting with life, and this transcends to the film itself. Edward Lachman’s glorious cinematography adds to the film’s nostalgic sheen, whilst Coppola’s wistful expression of joy and love for adolescence is what makes this film so touching and appealing. Intense, smart and at time humorous, The Virgin Suicides, in our opinion, is a beautiful and timeless classic.
Image courtesy of Roman Polanski ‘Rosemary’s Baby’
Image courtesy of Stanley Kubrick ‘A Clockwork Orange’
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
Perhaps one of the most brutal, graphic and disturbing of the modern classics, A Clockwork Orange, the 1962 Anthony Burgess dystopian novella, experiments and explores language, culture, crime and even politics.
Written by Ira Levin in 1967, this novel is one of the classic horror stories, and successful too, selling over 4 million copies. Inspired by the publicity surrounding the Church of Satan of Anton la Vey, Levin created the story which would bury deep into the consciousness of all who read it.
Often speaking in an idiom called Nadsat, derived from Russian, the protagonist Alex leads his gang, and the reader, through a life of nightly orgies of opportunistic ultra-violence. A fan of Beethoven, he is intelligent and quick-witted, but ultimately a hardened juvenile delinquent. We are taken through Alex’s world of crime in a near-future England, his prison sentence for murder and his subsequent aversion therapy, which conditions him to suffer crippling bouts of nausea at the mere thought of violence. With its three parts, each with seven chapters, Burgess stated that the total of 21 chapters was a nod to 21 being the recognised milestone age in human maturation. Exploring violence, crime and even suicide, A Clockwork Orange is perhaps as hard-hitting as they come, the repetition of ‘What’s it going to be then, eh? is provocative fighting talk, subconsciously preparing us for the stark violence which is present throughout. A story of futuristic violence is an oppressive, no-hope world, and one which discovers the realms of moral choice, it is a touching novel, despite the looming graphic brutality and tragedy. Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film adaptation expresses the disturbing story in a decaying metropolis with no holds barred. It facilitates the social commentary on psychiatry, gang mentality, political and social problems with stylish brilliance, set against a stirring classical soundtrack. Malcolm McDowell is the perfect Alex DeLarge; he manages to be both unhinged and intelligent all at once, whilst remaining extremely charismatic throughout. It has been deemed a landmark in the relaxation of control of violence in the cinema, and with good reason too. However, it would be a great disservice to the story, its message and its intentions to simply strike the violence from the screen. And despite its controversial nature, is a story which is shocking, compelling, intelligent and marvellously executed.
Centring on Rosemary Woodhouse, it tells the story of motherhood manipulation, fear and the world of Satanism. The novel excels in so many ways. It is a story of suspense, but one which does not play down to its reader. It is a story which continually betrays our expectations, and amazingly manages to stay a gripping read. The characters are what really drive the plot. They’re both exciting and thoroughly developed, from the freaky elderly neighbours, the Catavettes, to Rosemary’s fame seeking husband Guy, to the delicate Rosemary herself. She is sane, even when those closest try to convince her she is going insane and above all, the reader sees someone who is real and utterly compelling. Levin’s descriptions are detailed, enhancing this story with exceptional pace. It is a slow burning suspense, but one which flies by without feeling rushed. A true thriller, and one which has a certain reputation indeed, it is gripping and exciting. The film, directed by Roman Polanski in 1968, is equally as breathtaking as the book, staying true to the story and delivering the same heightened sense of excitement. Set against the Manhattan backdrop, the movies has it all, a haunting soundtrack, impeccable style, great actors in the form of Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes and of course iconic haircuts, courtesy of Vidal Sassoon. Unlike many thrillers, Polanski’s film is not padded out with the blood, gore and violence present in most, if not all, scary movies. It is the growing sense of inevitability which makes Rosemary’s Baby so tense and terrifying. Unlike the novel, thanks to the surrealistic dream sequence, the audience are aware of what is happening long before Rosemary. We know her fate, and this knowledge is key to our suspense. Earning over 33 million dollars in the US alone, on a modest budget of just 2.3 million dollars, the film was a huge commercial success, despite being shrouded in controversy. Franks Sinatra served Mia Farrow with divorce papers in front of the cast and crew midway through filming, and Polanski’s pregnant wife Sharon Tate was later murdered by followers of Satanist Charles Manson in the same year. Even with the tragedy which followed its release, the film is a work of art, remaining one of the greatest, and most stylish, thrillers to date.
“SUDDENLY I COULD CREATE MOVING CHARACTERS AND WORLDS IN THREE DIMENSIONS, RATHER THAN SLAVING OVER COMPLEX KEYFRAMING, I COULD POINT A CAMERA AT AN ACTOR AND TELL THEM TO SMILE’’
raduating from the NCCA (National Centre of Computer Animation), independent filmmaker, Ali Graham, rather than following the prescribed vocational route into the predominantly Soho based CGI / post-production industry, decided to try to carve something out for himself. And it has certainly paid off.
At the age of twenty-seven, Graham, from East Sussex runs his very own creative production company - GrArG Media. Based in Hastings, it is here that this young creative has developed and brought to life projects such as Nobody’s Business, an animated film and subsequent comic invention, which allowed him to build upon his honed skills in cinematography and express his inner “film nerd” The film itself, as Graham describes, was “a shambolic affair – broken cameras, house fires and trying to film a 90 per cent externally set film in the wettest September on record. I look back at it like a crude child’s drawing on the kitchen fridge.” Other creations include the character MC Tarquinius – a response to the “knee-jerk” opinion of the typical private school kid, something Graham is all too familiar with. Attending the prestigious private school St. Bede’s, Graham received an elite education, something he “refuses to apologise for. When people discover this there is an instant stigma attached – a good education equals wealth, status and hierarchy.” MC Tarquinius is infinitely rich, spoilt and receives the best education status and money can buy, “confirming that opinion to the Nth degree”, but rebels against his old money heraldry by blindly venturing into the world of hip-hop music. “Many consider it my vanity project, but in reality, I only play the character because I could not convince any of my friends to put on a silly wig and rap about money.” Pushing the character and his story down many avenues – video blogs, mockumentaries, music albums – Graham hopes to “build a coherent world for people to enjoy the story, or if nothing else, for me to exorcise that demon from my brain.” But spoilt toffs are not the only concept Graham can be proud of, with a love of telling stories and creating the worlds for his characters - but fully aware of the harsh reality that his chosen medium is constantly dependent on feasibility and budget – at the young age of fifteen Graham created a daily webcomic entitles HOUSD, followed by a more story driven concept called AfterStrife. These webcomics allowed the artist to create infinite numbers of characters, environments and the ability to immediately react to pop-culture movements – “all I had to do was put pen to paper.”
And how would Graham describe this relationship between film and popular culture? “Film once dictated popular culture. A summer blockbuster was just that – it would resonate for months (buy the toys, quote the lines). Now you’re lucky if punters aren’t pulling out their iPhones to watch a kitten playing a keyboard, before the credits have even rolled.” And the internet only adds to this dissatisfaction with its “bottomless pit of content. Society’s consumption habits has turned
from big hearty meals into tin grains of rice – we are never full, never satisfied and always hungry for more.” Whilst he agrees that a lot of negativity can be drawn from this smash and grab, live fast, die young, X –Factor, celebration of mediocrity culture, Graham believes it has leveled the playing field, “with affordable technology and a good idea, you can bypass the red tape and middlemen of the established creative industry and make whatever you want, put it online and it suddenly has the potential to be seen by anyone.” Less a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth, Graham expresses “there are a lot of hungry mouths to feed.” But in this consumption obsessed era, where does this filmmaker find his motivation? “I often find myself completely and irrationally entrenched in a project, just, because.” And exposing his work, and himself, to the barrage of scrutiny and ‘bile’ that so often come with the anonymity of the Internet, Graham has always sought to outdo himself, “the next thing I do should always be better than the last.” But he is realistic, “you are never going to please everyone. Everyone likes the X-Factor and Jeremy Kyle, so I will not be losing much sleep.” Listing Jurassic Park, Nightmare Before Christmas, The Big Lebowski and anything by The Coen Brothers and Wes Anderson, as his films of choice, Graham admits that he does not have a clear creative stimulus but instead finds that the context he exposes himself to often “subconsciously seeps into” his work. Charlier Brooker and Chris Morris are inspiring for their satirical outlook, whilst Nathan Barely was “hauntingly prophetic of the East London ‘dickhead’ scene’.” Collegehumor – the worlds largest comedy website which is not widely known in the UK - is another source of stimulus for Graham. “Although it is not a chuckle-fest, it is a beautiful conception built from business and creativity.” If he could work with any actor, past or present, Graham would choose Charlie Chaplin, Gene Kelley, Orson Welles and Charlton Henstion for the “respect of craft and skill.” Whilst for fun it would be Steve Seagal, Kevin Spacey, Lesley Neilson and Simon Pegg. “If I could have created any film, it would have to be Star Wars. It has managed to capture the imagination of so many cultures and generations and branded on the world’s conscious.” With a “ridiculous amount in the pipeline”, and just finding the time to pursue each venture, Graham is continuing to develop the world of MC Tarquinius, is planning on establishing another webcomic, continuing to write and create short films, shoot music videos whilst developing a highly complex webseries. His “grand plan” is to simply connects the dots between the mass of talented souls he knows, “between us we have the same abilities to achieve, as any Hollywood production company – convincing people to get on board without a Hollywood budget. That’s the tricky bit.” But even with a ostentatious Hollywood budget, Graham says the “perfect film just does not exist, nor will it ever. Film is a form of escapism; a film that can switch off reality for ninety minutes and take the audience on a journey has done its job.”
BLAXPLOITATION IT WAS THE GENRE CELEBRATED AS BLACK EMPOWERMENT AND IS PRAISED FOR PULLING HOLLYWOOD OUT OF ITS 1970S SLUMP. BUT WHAT IS BLAXPLOITATION? AND DOES IT TRULY HAVE A PLACE IN TODAY’S FILM INDUSTRY? FAYE NOTTAGE INVESTIGATES The Black Angels, They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!, Shaft and Black Mama, White Mama; all have one thing in common - their genre. Emerging in the United States in the 1970s, Blaxploitation - the term thought up by the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, and ex-film publicist Junius Griffin -was an ethnic sub-genre of the wider exploitation group. Originally made particularly for an urban black audience, its appeal soon expanded to cross the lines of race and ethnicity at a time where these areas were still sensitive. Typically set in ghettos, Blaxploitation films were characterised by plotlines featuring crime, hitmen, pimps and drug dealers. Ethnic slurs and insults against white people and hostile white characters were commonplace and stereotypes two a penny. Whilst, at the time, the genre was put forward as a form of exploring and shaping race relations in America, with many holding the view that the style was a symbol of black empowerment, Blaxploitation films were on the whole surrounded by controversy. Accused of propagating common derogative white stereotypes about black people, many called for an end to the genre – with the NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the National Urban League joining together to form the Coalition Against Blaxploitation. With support from many black film professionals, the group and their media exposure worked towards the eventual fall of the genre around 1976. But what really are Blaxploitation films? Often accredited with black people being typecast and stereotyped into roles and represented as outwardly different from ‘normal’ society, the films subsequently made black people a bankable spectacle – a saleable attribute. The extreme fetishisation of clothing and the significance of appearance to the heroes’ identities were offshoots of this. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the 1971 film Shaft - directed by Gordon Parks and starring Richard Roundtree as the infamous private detective. The action film, which has flashes of film noir inspiration, is the perfect example of how costumes and styling in the genre functioned as vital signs that transferred to the brilliant success and accomplishment of the protagonists who wore them. Shaft is the epitome of style. He offers an image that is lucid and slick, merging an authoritative silhouette with an astute sense of style. A stark contrast to the worn out Mac wearing and dishevelled white characters he comes up against. Shaft is more powerful, savvy and smarter than his white counterparts whilst displaying a prowess as a private detective in a police force which, at the time, was predominately white. And
this is all signified by his sharp appearance. He is confident, impressive, stylish and, above all, attractive because he is different. He is different because he is black. Blaxploitation films often stereotyped black people into highly-sexual, seemingly dangerous roles that were read and defined by their clothing, such as gangsters, pimps or hitmen. And whilst these films greatly varied in forms of politics, tones and style, they tended to focus on inner-city environments and tales of corruption, violence, revenge and sexual excess. The black protagonist – the pimp, the gangster, the private investigator or revolutionary – dominated the narratives. These stories presented an audience with self-assured black men using crimes and violence to affirm their place in life amongst highly-sexed, insatiable and desirable black women, such as Pam Grier in Foxy Brown (1973) and Tamara Dobson in Cleopatra Jones (1973). They were a commodification of ‘otherness’. And in this sense, the ‘other’ was more satisfying, more pleasing and thrilling to the enthralled and astounded viewer, purely because it was different from ‘normal’ 1970s society, especially in America. At this time, white cinema was about defeat and conquering. There was Nixon, there was Watergate, and feminism was making men alter and rethink their roles. But these films had black heroes who won—they could create change, they had panache and charisma. And whilst the black heroes were clearly antiheroes—pimps, drug dealers and gangsters - they were ultimately all fighting against The Man. White culture was considered to be the norm, and race was negotiated through film and visual media as ‘the other’ because excitement and joy could be seen and experienced from something that was new, risky and different. But, 40 years since its inception, does Blaxploitation still exist? Did it continue to thrill past its 1970’s heyday? Is there a place in cinema, visual media and popular culture as a whole, where ethnicity and race are over-sensationalised in order to be saleable attributes? In 1996, Fred ‘The Hammer’ Williamson assembled a reunion of several popular Blaxploitation stars, including Jim Brown and Richard Roundtree, in the picture Original Gangstas, whilst Quentin Tarantino cast Pam Grier as the titular character of 1997 hit Jackie Brown. And as recent as 2003, there were a number of films that could be seen to fall in with Blaxploitation and the stereotypes the genre entails. Barbershop, Austin Powers: Goldmember and Undercover Brother all, in one way or another, harked back to the genre. Undercover Brother openly mimicked the genre, Mike Myers’ Austin Powers was enthralled with the typically sassy and insatiable black female character Foxy Cleopatra while Barbershop revived the dispute surrounding black political correctness – the
In a more apparent homage to the genre, the 2009 film Black Dynamite was a spoof of the popular films. Directed by Scott Sanders and starring Micheal Jai White, Salli Richardson and Tommy Davidson, it paid respect to classics like Super Fly, Coffy, Willie Dynamite and Black Belt Jones. Whilst decidedly tongue in cheek, Black Dynamite did not openly admit to being a Blaxploitation spoof, but instead simply played up to the clichés so often seen in the genre. The styling was spot on; from afros, headbands and leather car coats to pimpmobiles, malt liquor and kung fu, it was the ideal satirical look at the period. But do pimpmobiles, and other things the genre entails, still have a place in today’s film industry and popular culture? One person who believes it does is Jay Potts, creator and writer of the popular webcomic World of Hurt and sister website worldofhurtonline.com. Super Fly meets The Equalizer, it features crooked cops, ruthless pimps and the slick hero Isaiah ‘Pastor’ Hurt. Created in 2010, this is not a spoof but a celebration, “I wanted worldofhurtonline.com to be a place where I could discuss and share the full breadth of my passion for the genre with like-minded individuals.” This is Blaxploitation taken seriously. In World of Hurt, the menace is real and the attitude is direct. The story, whilst most definitely part of the Blaxploitation genre, it not comical or played for laughs. It is approached with an air of seriousness, something that is very new and fresh for the genre.The streets are gritty and the rough vibe is almost effortlessly captured. The serialised newspaper-strip style, with black and white panelling, makes this online experience authentic, and one which is, above all else, cool. And that is exactly what Blaxploitation is about. But does Jay, cleary an avid fan, see how the genre could be seen as detrimental to race relations? Does he believe it is in fact exploitative? “Whilst some of the stereotypes put forward in the genre – the idea of the violent black antihero – can be seen as derogative, the overall message and vibe of Blaxploitation is style and more often than not, fun. And this outweighs the derogative characteristics’.” But is a place for it in today’s film industry? Jay’s answer is simply, yes, “Blaxploitation will remain in the consciousness of those who love and respect the great films from the genre. The memories we have of such works give it its place in today’s film industry. Just like past trends like film noir and psychedelia, Blaxploitation will continue to be popular and part of the creative industry.” For Jay, and many like him, Blaxploitation deserves its place among some of the great film genres because it is instilled so deep into their creative 3consciousness, and continues to shine through their own creative practices,
Image courtesy of Gordon Douglas ‘They Call Me Mister Tibbs’
Image courtesy of Gordon Parks ‘Shaft’
Image courtesy of Eddie Romero ‘Black Mama, White Mama’
eventual downfall of the original `1970s style of film.
“World of Hurt is a way for myself, and others, to express the passion and excitement that continues to surround the movement, be that through current culture, hip hop music or the film industry.” Author and journalist Darryl James however, disagrees with avid Blaxploitation fans like Jay, believing the genre to be damaging and just as destructive today as it was in the 70s - “the Black image has been, and still is, under assault. At some point, we need to be serious about the business of protecting our image, by taking control of the image that is bought and sold in modern films.” But do African American actors need to take control of how they are portrayed in visual media? Or can the stereotypes be overlooked in order to simply appreciate a medium that is exciting and stylish? With documentaries like Isaac Julien’s 2003 Badass Cinema taking an interesting look at 70s Blaxploitation films, showing how the genre’s melodramas significantly energized the film industry during Hollywood’s early 70s box office fall, and with interviews with Richard Roundtree, Pam Grier and Quentin Tarantino, it seems that more people within the industry would welcome a return of the genre to our screens. And whilst documentaries like this can be argued to be biased and to sensationalize the genre’s impact on cinema, there is no denying that many believe it to have a real place in today’s industry. One person who agrees is Ashley Jameson. As an African American aspiring actress, Jameson, 22 from New York, believes that a resurrection of the genre would be nothing but good for today’s movie industry and the actors trying to break into it - “I have worked on stage and have had bit parts in low budget movies but there are still limited places for young black women in the industry. A return to Blaxploitation films would only open up more doors and provide young black actors with opportunities to showcase their talent and work at something they love.” And is this just it? Does the genre have its place in today’s media simply because it provides breaks for black actors? Can Jameson not understand the reservations some would have for featuring in such films? “To put it bluntly, I want to work. And I do not mind my race being used as a saleable quality if it means I can do what I love. And if that means taking a tongue-in-cheek look at race and stereotypes, then I am all for it.”
Image courtesy of Sam Rolfe ‘The Man from UNCLE’
THE MAN FROM UNCLE
“It is the anti-tie. But above all, this high collared pullover says one thing, ‘I am different’.”
From its debut in 1964, and throughout its four-year run, the classic American spy television series, The Man From UNCLE, presented its audience with all the twists and turns of our favourite tales of espionage and international intrigue. There were complicated plot lines and fleeting characters, but one thing remained a constant – the turtleneck. Allegedly too lazy to keep changing his suit shirts, actor David McCallum simply preferred to pop a fine-knit, slim-cut layer over his tailoring. Thus the Illya Kuryakin turtleneck was born. And with the film remake of the classic sixties television show set to commence production later this year (with direction from Guy Ritchie); we take a look at The Man From UNCLE’S greatest Fashion Moment. Throughout history, a ‘turtlenecked’ man signified intelligence and wealth, but from the 19th Century onwards, menial workhands, sailors, naval officers and athletes commonly wore the traditional turtleneck. And in great comparison, by the mid 20th Century, artists, philosophers, the academic elite and the beatnicks were soon to adopt the look, the latter co-opting it as a symbol of intellectual bohemia. More than a heavy addition to your winter wardrobe, if done right, the turtleneck is an essential part of men’s fashion. Worn under a tailored blazer, a la Illya, the turtleneck has made a much-welcomed return amongst the style elite. From Roberto Cavalli, Calvin Klein and Hermes to Maison Martin Margiela and Ralph Lauren, there has been a distinct hark back to the Sixties trend over the past seasons. And it is not just designers and international spies who have expressed a love for the piece; the late Steve Jobs was distinguishable for his signature black mock turtleneck and Levi 501 combination. The sale of the signature $175 St. Croix turtleneck soared following his death late last year, with an increase of almost 100%
Another who appreciates this piece above all other staples is Craig Judkins. Such a love inspired him to establish the Turtleneck Club in Germany – a place for devotees and wearers to meet, network and chat. Coined as a ‘gathering of the culturally-refined and fashion aware individual’ the Turtleneck Club was born from a simple vision – “to see a room full of like-minded, elegant humans wearing turtlenecks.” However, the turtleneck is not without its opposition. In his memoir The Mystery Guest, Grégoire Bouillier wrote of wearing the piece, a mark of “pseudo sportsmen with, as they say, the lamest kind of collar”, as a kind of ‘band aid’ against the despair of his lover leaving him suddenly and without explanation, “so that now I hardly remembered the wind on my neck, which is the very feeling of freedom itself.” Still, the designer most accountable for the trend, Cardin, maintains that the turtleneck is appropriate for any occasion, providing the accompanying suit is right. Think Steve McQueen in the 1968 thriller Bullitt or Paul Newman in the 1977 comedy Slapshott, these men truly knew the power of the pullover. And now with a finer gauge and more made-to-measure look, the turtleneck has once again become the 21st Century man’s style staple. But it is not just men who can enjoy the sartorial benefits of a chinreacher; women too can take full advantage of its slick aesthetic too. Think the beatnik Audrey Hepburn in the 1957 musical picture Funny Face, dancing all long limbs and jagged angles, or the ever polished Grace Kelly or even Sharon Stone pairing a grey variation from the Gap with a Valentino skirt and Armani jacket for the 1996 Oscars. Thanks to the adoption by early feminists, the turtleneck has been proven as a unisex item, easily crossing over for the feminine wearer. The turtleneck is a rejection of traditional formalwear whilst remaining undeniably slick. It is the anti-tie. But above all, this high collared pullover says one thing, ‘I am different’.
Image courtesy of Djeneba Aduayom
WE SPEAK WITH FIL EISLER ABOUT HIS TRANSITION FROM THE BASS TO COMPOSING, HIS FILM CLASSICS AND WHY THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FILM AND POPULAR CULTURE IS SO SIMPLE
ype “Fil Eisler” into any search engine and a host of information regarding his time spent working as Robbie Williams’s bass player appears. However, the Czech born, English raised composer has, quite literally many strings to his bow. As well as a deft understanding of music theory, harmony, orchestration and conducting, he has successfully made the transition from backing group member to a fully-fledged master of his craft. Describing his musical style as “a bit of a mutt but certainly melodic” and with The Beatles’ A Day In The Life currently on repeat - “my daughter loves it” - Eisler taps into the influences of everyday life when formulating a composition. “TV shows, old postcards, fashions, even conversations with complete strangers; anything can trigger a sound in my mind. I am able to create a tune from that glimmer of inspiration.” However, this ability did not come over night and the change from playing the bass to composing was not a clear transition; more of a gradual learning process. Eisler completely committed himself to the study music as well as spending countless hours with private teachers at UCLA, California. From there, he was selected in 2008 as one of six up-and-coming composers invited to the Sundance Film Composer’s Lab, Utah. Since then, Fil has gone onto score to films such as: the commended Humboldt County, J Van Tulleken’s BAFTA nominated thriller Off Season and the Sundance backed documentary Whatever It Takes. His list of credits goes on and as well as working in conjunction with composers Tim Jones and the Oscar nominated Marco Beltrami, Fil has written music for various films and TV shows, including: My Best Friends Girl, ER, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Thief and This Revolution.
The multi-instrumentalist was first prompted to leave the stadium tours behind to begin a new chapter of his decade long musical career by a deeprooted love of film. Eisler lists Apocalypse Now, Hard Day’s Night and Dr. Strangelove as his film scores of choice but praises Bernard Herrmann’s ominous Psycho soundtrack above all others. “The fact that he limited himself to just a small string orchestra made it even more special. It was a genius way of entwining emotion, popular culture and film with music.” He continues, “there are films that follow the Zeitgeist and there are films that are the Zeitgeist. That is all.” Hermann’s work also closely adheres to Eisler’s philosophy to always remain sensitive to what is happening on screen. Therefore, the stronger the performances of those on camera, the easier his job becomes. The recent film Natural Selection, directed by Robbie Pickering and starring Rachael Harris is
a perfect example. Harris plays a sheltered Christian housewife who sets out to fulfil her husband’s last wish by finding the son he fathered through sperm donation. “Seeing others push their abilities to the limit make me realise there are in fact no limits whatsoever, only those you impose on yourself.” Vowing to face the endless challenges of the industry head on and with an extra helping of humility, Eisler is set to make waves in the world of music, TV and film. With Natural Selection and thriller On The Ice soon being his latest projects, as well as creating the melodies for ABC’s hit show Revenge and Phillip Noyce’s fresh creation Americana also for ABC, Esiler certainly has his hands full. But does he have the ego which often accompanies such a talent? The answer is simply, no - “Every time I stand in front of an orchestra I think, ‘How the hell did I get here?’”
“Every time I stand in front of an orchestra I think, ‘How the hell did I get here?’”
THEGOOD,THEBAD,AN THE LINES BETWEEN GOOD AND BAD ARE GROWING FINER. WE TAKE A LOOK AT FILM’S GREY AREA
From infamous Bond villains Emilio Largo, with his black eye patch, and the cat-loving mad-man Stavro Blofeld with his gruesome facial scar, and even Peter Pan’s Captain Hook, the classic movies provided their audience with a clear image of a villain. And most importantly, the way we could set the baddie and the goodie apart. Those with burns, marks or facial disfigurements were often the ‘bad’ characters. As an audience, we love the clear comparison between good and bad. Nothing beats a Shakespearean villain and hero dynamic, and we are thrilled by our ability to choose a side. But in today’s increasingly complex world of cinema, the lines between good and bad are slowly but surely beginning to blur, and it is becoming ever more difficult for an audience to know who to root for. It seems the once clearly defined black and white areas of Good vs. Bad are now a midst of grey and uncertainty. In the old movies, the screenwriter wanted to make sure the audience knew exactly who to champion, and so a writing technique called ‘Saving the Cat’ was often employed. The hero of the story would plainly save a fluffy feline from a tree, purely to let the audience know he was the nice, heroic type. And this technique has continued to be used in many of today’s Hollywood genres, albeit figuratively. Take the 2010 romantic comedy Love and Other Drugs, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. Jamie, the male protagonist, is a typical womanizer, “addicted to one night stands” - as the details state – he uses sex as a form of escapism. Not the usual hero of a typical rom-com, but when he proclaims his love for Hathaway’s Parkinson’s suffering character Maggie, ending his sexual addictions as a result, he quite clearly ‘saves the cat’ and proves himself to be a good guy, and one which the audience can subsequently root for. The screenwriters, Charles Randolph, Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, certainly knew what they were doing with this piece. Then there are those films where the good and the bad characters are segregated and presented to the viewer from the very beginning. Take for example the Rocky films. Our hero, Rocky Balboa is a working class Italian-American with a lot of heart and ambition. The villains in the film series are always exaggerated, loud, crass and obnoxious, with no redeeming qualities. They are always a hateful character. And when Rocky ultimately defeats these characters, we are glad – it is the only way a film like this, with its clear cut characters, is supposed to end. But what about the films where the lines between good and bad are blurred, where there is so much confusion that the audience are left to make their own assumptions and opinions? Where complex characters, who have more to them than just the character traits assigned to them, are allowed to steal the screen and capture the imagination of an enthralled audience.
One example of this kind of character is the one portrayed by Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s 1976 Taxi Driver. De Niro plays Travis Bickle, a mentally unstable Vietnam War veteran who finds work as a night time taxi driver in New York City. It is here, that the apparent debauchery and sordidness feeds his urge to commit violent acts. He has the redeeming characteristics of a typical hero – he is charming, funny, handsome and smitten with the glamorous Betsy, portrayed by Cybill Shepherd – but the violence and chaos he creates, in his mission to save a teenage prostitute, all point towards the stereotypical villain - thus, confusing the audience. We want to cheer for Travis, but his actions plant doubt in our minds. He is the prickly, brooding anti-hero. A more recent example of this character confusion, and one which almost pays tribute to Taxi Driver, can be seen in last year’s Drive. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and starring Ryan Gosling as a brooding Hollywood stunt man turned getaway driver. A fast action stunt film with an unadorned minimalist dialogue, it has a strong character and story at its core. The unnamed Driver works anonymously, never for the same people twice, and permits them only a five minute window to carry out their crime. Living in a world of loneliness and sinister desires that rise in him throughout the film, he is their accomplice in their crimes. Still, he maintains an air of heroism, and the audience are still drawn to him. He has all the characteristics of the stereotypical hero – talented, stylish, exceptionally cool and has a brewing, angst-laden romance with a beautiful woman – but lives a life of crime and moral turpitude. There is blood, guts, an extended-play face stomping, slashings and shootings. It is the perfect Wester/hero/revenge story, and whilst yes, we do know who to champion and are happy to see Driver triumph against the gangsters, we cannot help having an inner conflict whilst watching our hero perform such deeds. But perhaps this inner conflict is good. Maybe it is what makes today’s films so absorbing and exciting. Perhaps having a clear cut goodie and a clear cut baddie has just become too boring a story. Is this what we as an audience want? And although there is a Facebook group dedicated to “When Characters in films were divided into ‘Goodies and Baddies’”, perhaps what today’s audience wants is a challenge - to look past the segregation of characters which now seems so passé and lost, and to have to actually work in order to figure out if we are on the side of our idol or not. Perhaps we do not even need to pick a side. The ultimate cinematic experience, and the intention of the screenwriters and directors, may just now be one of confusion and eventual uncertainty. Now our characters are more complex, more vivid and at last more gripping.
Image courtesy of Nicolas Winding Refn ‘Drive’
Image courtesy of Martin Scorsese “Taxi Driver’
T A X I DRIVER FASHION’S FAVOURITE FILMS
WE LOOK AT HOW THIS MOVIE CLASSIC HAS INSPIRED FASHION’S GREATEST MOMENTS
The fashion set take inspiration from an array of places, but it is always film which seems to inspire so vividly. We take a look at how Martin Scorsese’s 1976 psychological thriller, Taxi Driver, has inspired some of fashion’s greatest moments. With an impressive cast of Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel and Cybil Shepherd, it was gritty, stylish, and dark – inspiring and influencing a generation. So much so that it was considered “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant” by the US Library Congress and was selected to be preserved in the National Film Registry in 1994. With a mood that was evocative, moody and filled with strain, this film created a world which was truly effective. And seeming an implausible sartorial influence – with its dark, prickly anti-hero protagonist – it uncovered a world of prostitution, violence and immorality in 1970’s America. But in this persuasive turn by De Niro – which earned him Academy award nominations and recognition from critics and audiences – an iconic character was born. And with this icon, came style.
This stylish influence on popular culture has been so keenly felt that Marc Jacobs’ Spring/Summer 2011 collection was a true celebration of the film. With images of curly hair, high-waisted flares, small knit tops and oversized turn-back-brim hats in shades of fuchsia, yellow and plum, it was the perfect ode to Jodie Foster’s teenage prostitute character Iris. But it is not just this New York City born creative who has a clear affiliation with the movie, its influence has been felt across the pond also. For his Autumn/Winter 1993 collection, the late Alexander McQueen showed creations inspired by the debauchery, sleaze and violence of Scorsese’s 1976 hit. Showing at London’s the Ritz Hotel, McQueen’s models were enfolded by latex and clingfilm, with some wearing Travis Bickle-printed garments over their bloodied and bruised bodies. And with other fashion houses like Unique, Christian Louboutin, House of Holland and Rachel Antonoff having referenced the film - with hot pants, bright wedges and oversized accessories - as recent as last year - it has proven to be a stylish classic, and one which we are sure will continue to enthuse and inspire. Taxi Driver is most definitely one of fashion’s favourite films.
25 Image courtesy of Martin Scorsese “Taxi Driver’
Image courtesy of Ari Seth Cohen ‘Advanced Style’
ONES TO WATCH
“Why do we only look towards younger people as our fashion icons? Why not look to the people who really know what they’re doing?” A message that sartorialist Ari Seth Cohen is celebrating, not only online and photographically, but also through the medium of film. Advanced Style is a blog which celebrates and chronicles the impeccable style of the superannuated brigade. A group which is so often overlooked by the fashion set – but here you can find eccentric grannies and dashing granddads. Inspired by his own Grandmother, Cohen meticulously scours the streets of New York, Milan and London to capture and celebrate only the most glamorous grannies. The Advanced Style website challenges regular opinion on dress, whilst challenging views on maturing. In addition to images of elegant elders, the
site features homage to eternal style icons, including Iris Apfel and Fleur Cowles. And now in his new fashion documentary, Advanced Style Film, set for release later this summer, he is sure to uncover the world of ladies who have spent a lifetime perfecting their aesthetic – “filming the Advanced Style ladies in all their sartorial splendour we have compiled wonderful and inspiring footage, that will not only change people’s perception of aging, but will also make us all look forward to the freedom that comeswith getting older.” Directed by New Yorker Lina Plioplyte, the trailer shows what promises to be a real visual gem as the elder stylistas demonstrate their most outrageous and striking fashion items on the streets of the Big Apple, and take us through their fervor - proving there truly is no age limit for style. Be sure to see the film later this summer.
ONES TO WATCH
OLLYWOOD COSTUME AT THE V&A
Costume designers are storytellers, historians, social commentators and anthropologists. Films are about characters, and costume design plays a fundamental role in bringing these characters to life. The V&A’s autumn exhibition, ‘Hollywood Costume’, brings to light the costume designer’s process in the construction of character from script to screen including the changing social and technological context in which they have worked over the last century. ‘Hollywood Costume’ explores the central role costume design plays in cinema storytelling. Bringing together over 100 of the most iconic movie costumes from across a century of film-making, it is a once-ina-lifetime opportunity to see the clothes worn by unforgettable and beloved characters such as Dorothy Gale, Indiana Jones, Scarlett O’Hara, Jack Sparrow, Holly Golightly and Darth Vader. This ground-breaking exhibition will take you on a three-gallery journey from Charlie Chaplin through the Golden Age of Hollywood to the cutting-edge
design for Avatar (2009, Costume Designer Mayes C. Rubeo, Deborah L. Scott) and John Carter of Mars (2012, Costume Designer Mayes C. Rubeo): Act 1, Deconstruction, puts us in the shoes of the costume designer and illuminates the process of designing a character from script to screen; Act 2, Dialogue, examines the key shared role of the costume designer within the creative team; Act 3, Finale, celebrates the most beloved characters in the history of Hollywood and the ‘silver screen’. The galleries will be filled with cinema costumes that have never left the private and archival collections in California. Most of these clothes have never been publicly displayed and have never been seen beyond the secure walls of the studio archives. Running from 20 October 2012 – 27 January 2013, this is an exhibition for any film or style enthusiast. Opening times: 10:00 to 17:45 daily10:00 to 22:00 Fridays www.vam.ac.uk
Image courtesy of Henry Koster
Bette Davis as Queen Elizabeth in The Virgin Queen, 1955. Costume designer: Charles Le Maire, Mary Wills
THE GREAT GATSBY
Although having been adapted for the screen in 1974 directed by Jack Clayton and scripted by Francis Ford Coppola, starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow - the newest instalment of the perfect Jazz Age story is set to be released later this year. And it is one of our most anticipated movies to date. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the riotous Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as author F Scott Fitzgerald’s calculating Daisy Buchanan, and directed by Baz Luhrmann – the man with the boundless imagination – it is set to be a story told through visual perfection.
The Great Gatsby, written by F Scott Fitzgerald in 1925, accounts a young man’s entanglements with an affluent circle of hedonistic east-coast aristocrats – including the
character of which the novel is named, who hosts many, wild New York gatherings. An exemplary novel of the Jazz Age, The Great Gatsby has been acclaimed by generations of readers. This story of fabulous wealth, heady nights, love and lavish parties on Long Island, all at a time when The New York Times recorded “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” is the exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s. Be sure to revel in this glorious story when it is released on December 26 later this year.
Image courtesy of Baz Luhrmann ‘The Great Gatsby’
ONES TO WATCH
ONES TO WATCH
ONES TO WATCH SUMMER 2012 MILIEU’S TOP THREE OF THE SUMMER’S CINEMA
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD Ben Zeitlin’s stunning masterpiece – accompanied by an intensifying score which the director co-wrote – tells the story of six-year-old Hushpuppy living in “The Bathtub” across the Delta Levee with her tough father Wink.
Image courtesy of Ben Zeitlin “Beats of The Southern Wild “
When Wink falls mysteriously unwell, nature also deteriorates – the temperature rises, the ice caps melt and the waters rise, all causing to the uprising of an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs. Confronting hard-hitting subjects like family dynamics and loss in an unsympathetic world, this evocative Sundance Festival Grand Jury prize winner will make you think as well as feel.
SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED Set for release in early June, this dark comedy – directed by Colin Trevorrow and starring Aubrey Plaza, Jake M. Johnson and Karan Somi – tells the story of three journalists who embark on a project to interview a man who placed a classified ad looking for a cohort for time travel – stating that he has already completed the mission once before and warning that any volunteer should take their own weapons. The brilliantly funny script is based on a real classified ad that turned into an Internet meme – originally featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Image courtesy of Colin Trevorrow “Safety Not Guarenteed”
ONES TO WATCH
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Whilst there has been some reservation surrounding Anne Hathaway’s embodiment of Catwoman, Christopher Nolan’s moody rising looks to be the perfect ending to the Batman trilogy. And with Tom Hardy portraying the unstoppable force Bane, this final installment promises to be an
Image courtesy of Christopher Nolan “The Dark Knight Rises”