From top: Meeting Gorbachev, Werner Herzog (left) and Mikhail Gorbachev; Gorbachev in Moscow in the late 1980s; Herzog in front of the Kremlin. Images courtesy of The Orchard and the Toronto International Film Festival.
In SAUVAGE—a scathing dramatization of a male prostitute’s decline and fall—the underground hides in plain sight, in the parks and back streets of Strasbourg. Starring Félix Maritaud as a 22-year-old hustler with no name (in interviews, writer-director Camille Vidal-Naquet refers to him as Leo), the film conveys with blunt force and clarity the haphazard reality of a group boys who—by necessity or expedience—have become dazed spectators to their own abjection.
As it turns out, this sense of distance is a vital requirement for the job. In the sex trade, the worker’s ego and subjectivity are useless during business hours. Leo’s fatal flaw is that he’s looking for too much life in “the life.” In love with a fellow hustler (Éric Bernard, as Ahd), Leo also likes to kiss his clients (another taboo), and is both ageist and unwilling to alter his habits. The idea of settling down with an older sugar daddy is nothing he can entertain for long. And as he plaintively asks a doctor who has just given him a poor bill of health, “Why would I change?”
Unwashed, unfed, and unloved, Leo and his tricks come and go throughout the night. In a touch Cocteau would appreciate, one of the johns—an angel of death—drives a black Jaguar, his periodic appearance heralded by a haunting piano interlude on the soundtrack.
Maritaud—already a young veteran of queer French cinema (Robin Campillo‘s BPM and YannGonzalez‘ Knife + Heart)—breaks the mold with a performance that reaches an unshakable core of desperation. This exclusive engagement of SAUVAGE at the Nuart ends on Thursday.
Forty-two paintings of women by Andy Warhol—including portraits of Gertrude Stein, EthelScull, Liza Minnelli, Dolly Parton, Golda Meir, Debbie Harry, Marilyn Monroe, and the artist’s mother Julia Warhola—are now on view at Lévy Gorvy in Manhattan.
In a silver-tin-foil-covered room in the gallery, a selection of Warhol’s 1964–1966 Screen Test shorts will play on a loop. Among the artist’s subjects for these 3-minute films were Yoko Ono, Edie Sedgwick, Marisa Berenson, Barbara Rubin, Amy Taubin, Susan Sontag, Niki de Saint Phalle, Cass Elliott, Donyale Luna, Holly Solomon, Maureen Tucker, and Nico.
“I don’t think I’ve ever met a collector today who is in between, let’s say, 25 to 65 [years old] who will tell me, ‘I won’t collect Warhol,’ and I don’t know that about any other artist… Our great-grandchildren will still be collecting Warhol more than many of the artists that are more pricey today.” — Dominique Lévy
Okwui Okpokwasili, FrançoiseVergès, Lorraine O’Grady, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, and DionneBrand are among the many artists, authors, and educators who will be at the Guggenheim this weekend for the LOOPHOLE OF RETREAT conference.
1071 Fifth Avenue (at 88th Street), New York City.
The name of the conference—and Leigh’s concurrent show at the museum—refers to a chapter title in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs, who referred to the opening line of the poem “The Task” (1784) by WilliamCowper.
“My head is splitting! The wine last night, the music, the delicious debauchery!” — CharlesLaughton, as Emperor Nero, in The Sign of the Cross
The sensual freedom that constituted much of the imagery of Hollywood’s silent period persisted into the sound era for four more years until a nationwide morals crusade reached critical mass in 1934, and strict enforcement of the Hays Code began.
Small-town church-goers were pushed to the brink by The Sign of the Cross (1932)—Cecil B. DeMille‘s notorious epic—which purloined a “Christian” story and served up nudity, violence, a lesbian dance sequence, and Emperor Nero as a raging queen. Needless to say, big city audiences responded to DeMille’s decadence with curiosity and enthusiasm, flocking to cinemas wherever it was playing.
Also on the bill: John M. Stahl‘s Only Yesterday (1933)—Margaret Sullavan‘s film debut—depicting out-of-wedlock childbirth, feminist and socialist advocacy, and an openly gay couple (Franklin Pangborn and Barry Norton)—scenarios that would disappear from Hollywood scripts for the next thirty years.
Mark A. Vieira will sign copies of his book Forbidden Hollywood: The Pre-Code Era before the screening.