Culture Digital Films, Art, Art and design, Article, Blogposts, Culture, Film, Jonathan Jones, Jonathan Jones on art, Lindsay Lohan, Photography, smartmoviemaking, Venice Biennale — May 30, 2011 18:46 — 1 Comment
A love letter to Lindsay Lohan – and the moving image
While no smartphones were used in the making of this video (as far as we can tell) we like this — a lot and there is plenty to be inspired by Richard Phillips’s beautifully shot art film
The moving image is much more artistically interesting than the still photograph, to me anyway. The photographic image is not as rich as a painting or a drawing – until it starts to move. The films of Alfred Hitchcock and Luchino Visconti offer poetic images that go far beyond photographs.
But another example of the way moving images are more complex than still photographs is the genre of the filmed portrait. Richard Phillips’s 98-second film Lindsay Lohan, which is about to be shown at the Venice Biennale, is an interesting example of this modern kind of portrait.
In the 60s, Andy Warhol filmed the poet John Giorno asleep, and asked visitors to his studio to sit for screen tests, in which they looked directly at a camera. Warhol’s filmed portraits have a lyrical, unblinking emotional power. As people struggle to face the cold gaze of his camera, they seem to truly reveal themselves, in moments of disconcerting intimacy.
Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno take this idea of the revealing regard of the camera, blandly yet absolutely recording someone’s features, mannerisms, and way of relating to the world around them, in their film Zidane: A
Phillips’s portrait of Lohan is more openly emotional than these films, for while they stress an even, unemphatic regard – Warhol’s unmoving camera, the series of cameras set up for the Zidane film – Phillips makes a completely different choice and films Lohan in several dramatic images, edited together in an exhilarating way. The result is a romantic and indeed erotic view of an actor recently in the headlines for violating her probation on a 2007
Lohan is seen as an almost mythical beauty, a pop goddess framed against the sparkling sea, contemplating her own outsized image. The image is bigger than she is: the real Lindsay Lohan is dwarfed by the colossus of her fame – but this art film is not rejecting the myths of celebrity, it is fascinated and enraptured by those myths. Phillips gleefully lingers in the same amoral realm as his often provocative paintings.
His camera worships Lohan. She becomes a modern Venus by the sea, and her appearances in court and the media seem irrelevant beside the persona he portrays. It is a love letter.
Lohan will not be in Venice for the premiere, as she is currently under house arrest. But this filmed portrait does a good job in her defence. It is a passionate hymn to someone the artist sees as a true star.
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