Movie directors, singing nuns, obese teenage acrobats, the Trump Casino, celebrity journalists, overweight achievers, the Trump Marina Hotel, the Sorokko Gallery in Soho, the Jean-Georges Restaurant, hookers, publishers, women over 40 in desperate need of plastic surgery, movie stars, off-off-Broadway directors, supermodels and the silver screen. That's the fauna -- and flora -- of Woody Allen's Celebrity, a film shot in black and white which relies heavily on architecture to convey a certain end-of-the-century malaise, a melancholy background feeling, a ridiculous emptiness of the spirit punctuated by the occasional witty line.
Celebrity questions, with renewed cynicism, Warhol's prediction that, in time, everyone would enjoy 15 minutes of fame. "That's one of those things that sounds great, but has nothing to do with reality," says Allen. An acute observer of people's idiosyncrasies, Allen succeeds -- in this utterly idiosyncratic film -- to sketch a veritable pathology of fame. We are what we celebrate, the film announces in discreetly disconnected episodes whose protagonists have fallen in love with their reflection in the mirror.
In its tormented, repetitive portrayal of romantic longing, Celebrity is, indeed, a Woody Allen film which revels in its bankruptcy of character. But the little neurotic man we've grown so accustomed to -- here Lee Simon, the celebrity journalist -- is, for once, played by someone other than Allen. In Kenneth Branagh's interpretation, Simon adds a touch of mockery to the film's self-reflexive pose: After all, to see Branagh playing Allen playing himself is a rare treat.
Celebrities (Melanie Griffith, Judy Davis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Winona Ryder) wander in and out of the movie with a more or less vague idea of the storyline. To increase the fractured feeling of each encounter, Allen gives the actors only those pages of the script that pertain to their characters. For the most part, people meet in this film as they would at a party: They exchange polite, passionate or pathetic lines and leave.
The detachment the audience feels at the end proves that Celebrity has achieved its goal: the 15 minutes of fame are, indeed, ephemeral. But the thought of a superficial society prostrated before superficial celebrities enjoying superficial moments of glamour is frightening, uncomical and dark.
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.