Most of the time, I’m a pretty big fan of HBO’s documentaries, so you can imagine my disappointment when I had to sit through the overly long 76 minutes of Naked World, which follows attention-hungry tit-bag Spencer Tunick, as he embarks on a world tour to find idiots wanting to pose for him. They all have their reasons why they’re baring all for the handful of people, who watch this documentary, but the underlying reason is – much like that of Tunick himself – attention. These lunatics may have even convinced…themselves it’s not for attention, but make no mistake – it is. It doesn’t take much in way of talent to snap the shoddy photographs Tunick provides here, and his medium is nothing more than a gimmick, rather than an actual talent. He’s a sniveling, complaining, sideshow huckster demanding recognition as an artist, and there’s nothing more obnoxious to me than that. I’m not inclined towards nudist art, but I will admit, there are sculptors and painters out there with actual talent, who can carry out what Tunick is trying much more effectively.
Even more amusing than the claim that Spencer Tunick is an artist are the delusional subjects for much of his work. There is a woman dying of AIDS, who somehow feels showing her naked body in a group of over one thousand others doing the same thing will somehow make a worthwhile statement to the rest of the world regarding her plight. I’m sympathetic towards anyone dying of a vile disease such as AIDS, but the context in which this is done is a contradiction to her whole purpose. And once you have bared all – so what? What statement does it make? If nobody cares, what’s the point? If your statement is, I know no one cares, and I want them to know I don’t care either, then again – what is the point? If you really didn’t care – like you say – then why do you need to make a statement to begin with? This unfortunate lady is not the only one humiliating herself for five minutes of notoriety in this documentary, but she is one of the most memorable. The best favor you can do these participants is to avoid the film all together and not subject them to the self-deprecation they’re unwittingly committing upon themselves.
Brought to viewers in the standard 1.33:1 format, Naked World provides all too clear a picture of the often disgusting nude physiques, which are thrust down our throats. Colors, while not particularly rich, and blacks, while not particularly deep, render a clear image with so-so contrast. The frame displays just a smattering of grain here and there, but it’s overall well-done, and by far, the best feature this release has to offer.
The disc’s 2.0 track might as well be monaural. There is a high volume on the end of dialogue with virtually nothing outside the musical score for nuance. It serves the needs of the picture, recreating Tunick’s whiny, obnoxious speech in perfect detail.
HBO provides a New York Installation Video, which, like most of this DVD, is brief, and an utter waste of disc space. There is a commentary, featuring Tunick as he tries to justify his own sickness as art. Last – and definitely least – is the gallery of his “work.”
Naked World is a complete waste of time for any viewer with some semblance of a worthwhile life. While Tunick succeeds in removing sexuality from his nude photos, he does so in a manner that makes it more revolting than artistic. The A/V presentation is conservative, and as such doesn’t have to do much to reach its goals. Bonus materials are mercifully sparse. HBO or not – avoid at all costs.
Special Features List
- New York Installation Video
- Audio Commentary with Director/Producer Arlene Donnelly Nelson and Artist Spencer Tunick
- Gallery of Artwork