Friday, July 23, 2010

A Movie a Day, day 68: Smash His Camera

Toward the end of Smash His Camera, an excellent HBO documentary about self-described “paparazzi superstar” Ron Galella (it hits movie theaters next week), a young woman tours an exhibition of Galella’s photos. The subjects are all icons from the photographer’s salad days, which extend from the Eisenhower era through the Reagan years, and the young woman knows almost none of them, from Jackie O to Brigitte Bardot (or, as she sounds out the name, “Bar-dot”). It’s a funny scene, and an economical reminder of the fleeting power of fame and the short shelf life of Galella’s life’s work.

One of the photos in that exhibit is of Muhammad Ali, the subject of another stellar documentary by director Leon Gast. As he did in When We Were Kings, Gast makes it look deceptively easy to make an energetic, highly entertaining biopic with something to say, not just about its main subject but about us. Read the rest on The House Next Door, Slant Magazine's blog.

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