Unless you’re Cindy Sherman, you can’t blame Paul H-O, the filmmaker behind the documentary Guest of Cindy Sherman, for sharing a story as good as his. Paul started out as the creator of the New York cable access show Gallery Beat, which, as the doc’s trailer describes, was something like “Beavis and Butt-head go to the art world.” Yet in the midst of his boorish traipsing through Soho in an attempt to bring down to earth an esoteric art world ruled by icons like Jeff Koons and Julian Schnabel, a funny thing happened: The dude hooked up with Cindy Sherman. That’s Cindy Sherman the world-famous photographer. One of the holier-than-thou artists Paul stood in the shadow of on his rinky-dink show. Of course, with Sherman as his girlfriend, Paul freaked out (“swallowed up by the Cindy Sherman giant thing,” is how he describes it), and eventually, things fell apart. But man, what a story.
Guest of Cindy Sherman first screened last April at the Tribeca Film Festival, and it will get its limited theatrical release on March 27. Whitney Matheson posted the trailer on her USA Today Pop Candy blog today, and though it offers only fleeting glances at candid Sherman (mostly justducking from the camera), it’s enough to whet my appetite.
The artist has made it clear she wants nothing todo with the project. But as a fan of Sherman’s disturbing and sometimesdownright violent self-portraits, I’ve been fascinated by thisproject ever since Variety described its intimate footage of thefamous photographer “acting like a flirty schoolgirl.” Through her photographs, I’ve seen Sherman act like a disheveled junkie, a buck-toothed clown, and a filthy corpse, but never a flirty schoolgirl – and never actually as Cindy Sherman, the human behind all those wonderful photos. And while I do find Paul H-O to be a bit obnoxious, I also relate to his everyman, tongue-in-cheek appreciation of the art world, and I hope that despite understandably feeling somewhat violated by this movie, the same part of Sherman that was attracted to a goof like this can also chuckle at his “Woe Is Me” movie about her.
Anyone out there see this on the festival circuit and care to weigh in? Who else dying to see it even though you feel kind of bad peering into Sherman’s life without her approval?