F is for Fake, E is for Essence
– Evolution of the Modern Biopic –
This month the film club is directing its focus on the lives of three legendary figures in the smoldering frontier of American arts and culture. Two of these iconic innovators are jazz musicians and one is a graffiti artist. Each challenged and redefined the edges of what art is. Each could be called street performers with their exploratory expressions. They worked with open spaces and downtown alleys to create their new social vocabulary. Their temperamental muses demanded it all, and their leaps of imagination were made without safety nets. To crash and burn was part of their condition as living treasures.
“Art is the lie that tells the truth.“
Much of the storytelling within these three biopics has to do with a distracted focus – much of what is most commonly known about these artist’s lives goes unmentioned with purely subjective interpretations imagined to fill the voids: Standard understandings are passed over as pauses for reflection play a more important role.
How do you give insight into the story of a celebrity when dealing in the notoriously vague language of artistic imagination? What grade might be given for such daring film undertakings? Is it F for something fake and fraud, or an E for emanating the essence of what’s essential?
“Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there“.
– Miles Davis
As above so below.
As in legendary performance …
so in innovative biopic film.