I recently showed Diane Arbus photographs to my students, and we discussed how shock value has a different meaning now than it did a few decades ago, if it even still exists at all. (We were reading, of course, an excerpt from Susan Sontag’s On Photography.) The photographs made me remember the movie Fur, a rather critically-panned fantasy spun around a few real details from Arbus’s life. It is a love story between a photographer and her upstairs neighbor, a man covered from head to toe in fur. This imaginative film is touched with just the right amounts of humor and pathos. If it were starring unknown actors (instead of Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey Jr.), I believe that Fur would have been greeted with more respect. While both actors deliver understated performances, their fame is too overstated for the gentleness of the film.
Bio: Erica Wright is the poetry editor at Guernica. Her “interview with John Ashbery”:http://www.guernicamag.com/interviews/507/houses_at_night_1/, “Houses at Night,” appeared in Guernica’s February 2008 issue. Read her last recommendation of The Importance of Peeling Potatoes in Ukraine “here”:http://www.guernicamag.com/blog/1549/rec_room_erica_wright_the_impo/.