Tuesday, February 12, 2019

velvet buzzsaw: art and slaughter

There is so much to love about this movie.  Even the horror plot line aside, it's an amazingly scathing portrait of the art world...one in which you are left wishing you were like John Malkovitch's character at the end, drawing circles on the beach with a stick that washes away as quickly as you draw.   I can't say I have much knowledge of the fancy gallery world maneuverings, but from all accounts from folks who have peered into it's abyss, it's not that far off. Mediocre art but really good buzz can sell for millions. Collectors make the culture--where the money goes, contemporary taste goes. It's probably no different than other art forms--music or film, but it seems especially heinous when you take out the popular appeal factor.  Ie, yes people are willing to throw money at Beyonce albums and the latest comic book movie, but you're average person will not buy a painting this year, much less a giant abstract. So the wealthy, not the masses, form the taste. And, well, the wealthy are boring and predictable.   For a bit, it made me really happen that there is no money in poetry, or even book arts really, so the waters are less muddy between art and commerce.

As horror, it's really good.  And very original in a world where there seem to be a lot of remakes and spin-offs but little true, original horror. And of course, you might argue it's not original, part of the inspiration being a small history of haunted paintings.  Still it's a good watch even if you give no shits about the art world, and an amazing watch if you do.  It's also very lovely and artful as a film in terms of performances, scripts, and cinematography.  Netflix has been knocking it out of the park lately and I can't wait to see more. (The Haunting of Hull House and Russian Doll come immediately to mind ( the latter of which also deserves an entry of its very own.) I also very much like how they handled the final girl--almost invisibly moving through the carnage--and emerging out the other side intact. The final girl is always a witness to the horror, and in this , she is almost invisible, but important as a conveyor of gossip and information. With every body she comes across, her role becomes more comic and archetypal., and probably evidence of a whole bunch of gallery asst. girls who move in that world invisibly and yet survive.

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