Film Scouts Reviews

"High Art"

by Lisa Nesselson

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"High Art" is an invitation to hyperbole. In a festival with enough gay and lesbian urges to add a flag with a pink traingle to the fluttering fabrics along the Croisette, one for each country represented at this year's fest.

Lisa Cholodenko's first film (Directors Fortnight) distinguishes itself by being about the seduction of seduction. About the magnetic force that emanates from the self-assured and worldly to the confused and inexperienced. About the tug between those who yearn to be sophisticated and those who were seemingly born that way. About the infinite capacity for pretentiousness brought face to face with truth at 24 fps or any other speed -- say, ASA 100 at f5.6 and 1/250th of a second.

When fresh-faced but ambitious 24-year-old magazine employee Syd (Radha Mitchell) investigates a suspicious drip filtering down from the apartment upstairs, she discovers a den of slow-motion inequity populated by drug addicts and gay women. The casual but monied epicenter is one Lucy Berliner, a photographer who once was red hot but deliberately retreated into the deep freeze. Lucy (played by Ally Sheedy with sit-up-and-take-notice skill) and her German girlfriend Greta (played by slouch-down-and-take-notice genius by Patricia Clarkson) find their comfortable-yet-unhealthy routine disturbed by Syd. Everybody's emulsion gets scratched before the tale's told.

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