We got another batch of films from Film Movement sent to us here at Upcomingdiscs. This time around we have a pair of documentaries that delve into separate directions in the art world. I think to be fair when talking about these films for the most part I was going in blind on the subject matter when it comes to the Antonio Lopez documentary, with my lack of knowledge when it comes to the fashion scene of the 1970’s, and, well, even today’s standards of the industry. As for the painter Heironymus Bosch, I only remember vague details about the infamous painting that the documentary was about, so once again I’m pretty much going into this documentary with a clean slate on the material as well. So for those fashion gurus or art snobs out there, I apologize in advance for my ignorance on the subject matter.
Antonio Lopez 1970 Sex Fashion & Disco
This isn’t a documentary about how Antonio Lopez grew up to become an iconic fashion illustrator of the 70’s, but instead this is more about capturing his life in a moment when his career was at its peak. We get to see footage of the man at work, but mostly this is a collection of interviews with his friends and lovers at the time and them discussing their experiences with the man.
One of the interview subjects I was surprised to see here was Jessica Lange, who was a model for Lopez well before she had taken on the Fay Wray role in the 1976 version of King Kong. During her interview she tells some engaging stories about her experiences, and we also get a glimpse of some of the artwork that depicted her. As a fan of Lange, this was one of those rare and unexpected treats, and the documentary offers plenty more. We are offered up stories about how Lopez got to work with Grace Jones and even hear about his short-lived relationship with Jerry Hall. These stories get into the drugs and all the partying that went on during this era and are nicely mixed with interviews and stock footage from back in the 70’s. Another one of the fun stories we get to hear about was the slight competition between Lopez and Andy Warhol, which is entertaining to hear about.
Here is my issue with this documentary: the narrative about Lopez seems a bit repetitive and stretched at times, as we seem to hear similar stories about all the drinking, drugs, dancing, and sex that occurred. As an objective audience member, it’s easy to understand that Lopez enjoyed to party, but it seems so much of this goes on for to long as though they were padding the time for the project. To put it simply, this easily could have been 10-15 minutes shorter and just as impactful if not more so, but if you are a fan of hearing the scandalous stories about celebrities, this one should be entertaining for you.
Film: 3.0 out of 5
Bosch: The Garden of Dreams
I remember this painting from my art appreciation classes, but I never could have told you its name. Mostly I remember all the controversy that seemed to surround the work because many could find it obscene. Well, with further examination of the painting, there is a lot going on in this artwork, and this documentary sets out to explore its meaning and its influence it has had on the art community.
To be upfront, this is a documentary I’d imagine a lot of students will be subjected to in their art appreciation classes. This feels like a very clinical study of the artwork, and, well, to be honest can feel a bit long-winded at times, so the audience for this will be fairly limited to those that truly do have an appreciation for art.
One of the pluses this has going for it was I enjoyed hearing the stories from those being interviewed as they discussed their first experiences seeing the artwork. There is a genuine love and appreciation that comes through with each of the interviewees, and for some it will be engaging hearing their different theories on the artwork and what is being depicted. This isn’t a documentary with high production value but instead has a lot of focus on the interview subjects and many close-ups of the artwork. Being honest, I doubt I’ll ever be tempted to watch this again, but I can accept I’m not the target audience for this one.
Film: 3.0 out of 5