THE FEATURE : 2008 (184 MINUTES) D: MICHEL AUDER AND ANDREW NEEL PLAYS: FRIDAY, JANUARY 2ND TO THURSDAY, JANUARY 8TH AT: 7:15PM
If you were an artist, a pioneer in establishing video as in art form, and were told you were dying, what would you do? What would you want your legacy to be? This fictional biography of Michel Auder (directed by himself and Andrew Neel) uses that premise to take us through almost 3 hours of the man’s 40 year history, including the Zanzibar group, the Warhol era, etc. Co-starring such luminaries as Larry Rivers, Cindy Sherman (his second wife, whose self-portraits influenced Madonna‘s SEX Book, and who is also in the film), as well as Nico, Warhol Superstar Viva (wife number one, and mother of his daughter), Jane Fonda, Bridget Berlin, Yoko Ono, Christo, Willem de Kooning, Eric Bogosian, and the co-director’s mother, Alice Neel, (who Andrew directed in, well, ALICE NEEL, presented by NWFF earlier this year), it’s a virtual who’s who of the art world of the ‘60’s, ‘70‘s and beyond.
When Sony put out the Portapak video camera, Michel Auder saw a new way of making art. To quote the NWFF press packet material, “Auder uses video to translate Warhol‘s talent for making the banal glamorous and vice versa, into a diaristic practice. He doesn’t need a crew or a studio system to makes films-he uses everyday life to make his art. Despite Auder‘s diligent documentation of the world around him, he has never been interested in representing reality in the sense of cinema verite. He takes the quotidian as source material and reforms it, like a poet, into ‘video reality’, creating unexpected juxtapositions and meditations.”
And he’s truly done it ALL, quoting the press packet again, ” From the early days in Paris in the fashion industry, the artist journeys to Morocco, New York, Hollywood, Rome, Vanuata…He is an old man, a draft dodger, a father, an obscure filmmaker, a dope fiend, a Yale professor, a kid getting laid, an art world celebrity, a Warhol scence-ster…The layers of time and image pile upon one another and present a kind of collective picture of the artist: enamored of life, certain of death and unwilling to compromise between the two.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.