JT LEROY – this story’s based of fake events.

maxresdefault (1)

The Guardian has called it ¨perhaps the most succesful and sustained of any of the hoaxes¨. Laura Albert says: It was not a hoax.

It wasn´t a well-considered plan, or, rather, it wasn´t a plan at all. Laura Albert has adopted the identity of teenage prostitute´s son in purely therapeutical purposes, at least that´s what she claims- she wouldn´t be able to write as a woman about painfull things engraved in her own memory

Everyone knew him. JT Leroy, teenager with vague sexual identity who managed to get away from the hell of Southern truck-stop prostitution world into which his own mother immersed him and who has put his terrible experiences into writing thanks to the suggestion of psychologist dr. Terrence Owens- as it turned out, in suprisingly sophisticated form.  The doctor shared his discovert with his neighbour, editor, Eric Willinski, that one has contacted JT with his favourite poet, Sharon Odds. That´s how the first collection of short stories written under the name ¨Terminator¨has seen the light if the day and thereby the legend was born, soon growing on such a large scale that the author couldn´t disentangle herself from it.

Celebrities have fallen in love with Jeremiah ¨Terminator¨ Leroy at first reading, declairing emotional catharsis they have been experiencing with every chapter. Winona Ryder was thanking ¨from the bottom of her heart¨, Courtney Love, Bono, Tom Waits, everyone was bombarding JT´s voicemail with thank-you messages and he, morbidly shy, hidden behind huge glasses, was trying to deal with unexpected fame. Since the begining, particular voices have been defending the thesis that Terminator could never have existed, being an alter-ego of Gus Van Sant or other art world figures. The legend was swelling, the stars were swelling with pride and Albert, as british social worker called ´Speedie´who rescued JT from the streets, was appearing incognito on public readings.

screen-shot-2016-09-06-at-4-38-25-pm.png

Talking with Vice, Jeff Feuerzeig, an director of the documentary Author: The JT Leroy Story stumbled across the book ¨Sarah¨ by accident. Refering to his binge read on a long plane travel, he says:

¨Laura Albert had left the clues that she wanted to tell, that she had a secret but she wasn´t ready¨

She had her reasons. During her speech recorded couple years after the true has came to light, she points out the group home where she has been living as a teenager as a place where she´s started soaking up with stories and looking for a way to express her own.

I´m on this writing classes and everyone´s looking at this one cool guy…[…] and I´m in group home, and I´m looking at him and I wanted to be him because he matches the voice and I don´t want him to know it´s me cause it´s gonna ruin it¨

Feuerzeig´s documentary features the story as unbelievable as famous Searching for a Sugar Man. However, instead of holding out on us, he puts his cards on the table, letting Albert admit: I am JT. The story is carried by her and in opposite to copybook docs her voice is not really confronted with the others. This choice of narration exposes the strongest and weakest part of all the legend created- Albert´s personality. It becomes a confession but with no regret. Albert never says sorry and never will- she’s strongly convinced she did the right thing letting the show go on.

09AUTHOR-master768

The books gained amazing success mostly because of one factor- their value is corelated with emotional resonance of author´s authentic  experiences. Almost every review before exposing the hoax reffered to the fact that the story is based on life of JT. As says Susan Vega, quoted in the introduction to Sarah- ¨JT Leroy has a gift ti be able to articulate his world so dearly[…] without glossing over the pain and brutality of it¨. Another quote, from Jerry Stahl, sounds a bit ironic in the new context ¨Whatever young LeRoy had to live through to write a book like this, we´re lucky he´s here.¨ Basically, Sarah and ¨The Heart…¨ lacking the root of authenticity, in the eyes of critics turn out to be a cheap story using shortcuts and threadbare archetypes: fanatic Southern Christians, degenerated truck drivers and drug- addicted hookers.

maxresdefault

The story of adaptation starts the same way as it did with the documentary. Asia Argento has read the book and became so attached to the character of JT that she decided to put it to the screen. Asia’ s second film as a director is filled with grotesque, brutally bombarding the spectactor with uncomfortable scenes of abuse; it lacks any ornamentations, in certain parts being simply ugly and repulsive.  Looking at her most recent “Misunderstood”, glamorous adult fairytale, it’s hard not to notice the lift at the level of aesthetics. The acting of Asia featuring title role- Sarah, abusive irresponsible mother of Jeremiah, overwhelmes as she seems to constantly fight for the foreground. New York Times has crushed the movie after the truth came out; not only ms. Argento’s skills as a filmmaker have been criticised, but the movie itself was called “well-high unwatchable” partiallly thanks to the quality of source material.

‘ They called me fake fiction writer’ she laughs in her speech.  People were angry, offended and craving for revenge for making the fools out of themselves. But at the end, how does it matter if JT exists if these devastating child stories have and will exist and Albert has put the light on it.

FUTURE STARTS SLOW: over L´Avenir by Mia Hansen-Løve

1b93e8490433818469af6cfbafcbbe115e7035b6

When two years ago I was about to choose the courses for my upcoming erasmus semester, what drew my attention first was the cinema one. I was even more interested considering the fact, that the course tutor, during the opening day, refering to my forever-love-France-and -french-culture-and-people declaration, has foretelled: You´ll hate it. I hate it.

I hadn´t known yet, that instead of cinema, the course will focus on the society captured with a watchfull eye of the camera. Until then I associated french cinema with poster screenshots from A Bout de souflle, fringes and over-the-top monologues recited by grumpy characters with cigarettes held in mouth. However, watching the profesor´s selection of movies, the society issues was an important, but still, background. In raw, sometimes lazy narration I´ve found the rightest approach to the human being itself.

Human and mechanisms of his winding thoughts have always been the center of interest for the seventh muse, especially for the french one, and that´s why it´s so easy to hate it or love it- the action has been given up for the dialogue and the prosaic pictures of everyday life, where outwardly insignificant element can ruin the fragile equilibrium. In all that plot simplicity there comes a real challenge; put yourself in the boots of other ordinary person, with all her or his spectrum of imperfections and try to assimilate his emotions in its purest form.

This is what Mia Hansen-Løve does in her newest film, aprecciated at the festivals all over the world. The true-born woman portrayed with unearthly naturality by one of one of the best living actresses Isabelle Huppert, has to deal with the series of unfortunate events- her husband leaving her for another woman after 25 years of marriage, pschycotic episodes of her ill- balanced mother and unprofitable changes including her own publication. Being used to associating the maturity rather with looking back, we can´t help but feel a sting of resentment when discovering that for the teacher, catastrophical changes are a prelude to liberty. The future hides in a loss and lack of certainity, as her beloved Descartes used to emphasize.

things-to-come-2016-001-isabelle-huppert-on-wet-beach-original

Mulitlevelness of this simple story allows everyone to find their important lesson. Talking with her ex student, she refers to the marriage breakdown. It´s not easy, she says, but fortunately I have a rich intelectual life. For me, what´s brought to the fore in the movie, is passion. As in previous Hansen´s-Løve movie, Eden, we can observe the evolution of it; this time, instead of young dj, the mature teacher sheds some different light on it. Philosophy pushes Nathalie to reorganise her life without an unnecessary drama, becoming her magnifying glass. With a cartesian rationality she observes how her former life collapses into pieces and doesn’t try to put it back in the same order. It doesn´t mean that she hasn´t her moments of weakness. However, she  gets up and embraces what future brings. Some would call Nathalie cold. But seeing in everyday life all these woman imprisoned in their airless relationships, where partner is the main point of interest, I find her rather a free person. As Mia Hansen-Løve claims in the interview with Indie Wire, that was her objective:

I am telling a story about a
character who is free, in all ways in which she can be free. It’s really about
freedom, about a woman who loses everything, and at the point when she’s lost
everything, she finds herself. It is about how inner freedom can help you
through the hard times in life. It’s about faith, strength and it all depends
on freedom. Philosophy is really about that, too.

Philosophy, as it often happens, could be an obstacle for the general perception of the movie, but here it´s rather an integral element of Nathalie large-scale portrait. Confronted with the dillemas of her former favourite student and other young anarchists, building an alternative little community on the province of Rhone-Alpes region, she says: I´ve been there, but doesn´t get involved in a further conversation. She avoids giving a statement on the student´s protest against the reform. Just let me work, she repeats all over again. She loves philosophy, but until her world tears apart, she does not really have time to apply it in real life.

 

The main reason why Things to Come amazed me, is the fact, that you choose your own punch line.

BARCELONA – THE ART OF CINEMA

 

37-guido-augusts-affiche-de-la-chinoise-de-jean-luc-godard-1967

WHERE: Barcelona, Caixa Forum

WHEN: until 27th of March 2017

ENTRY: 4 euros, includes the other exhibitions of Caixa

 

Arte y cine. 120 años de intercambios ( Art an cinema. 120 years of exchanges), the exposition organised by La Caixa in collaboration with Cinémathèque française takes us for a journey through the history of cinema seen through the lens of art. With sections divided by decades, the exhibition presents a detailed analisys on how art has influenced the cinematography and how cinema has became an art by itself. Since the very first attempts to portrait the essence of movement with photography and brothers´Lumiere works till the modern recordings of water paintings, we receive the full view on the history of dialogue in between filmmakers and artists.

un_chien_andalou2

As I´ve been recently interested in various approaches to the theme of dream, what especially drew my attention was the whole section dedicated for it  including the dream sequence directed by Dali for Hitchcock´s 1945 Spellbound and oneiric Bunuel´s visions. Fans of Nouvelle Vague and vintage posters shouldn´t be dissapointed as well.

TIP: Descriptions only in Spanish. My level is absolutely low, though I still recommend the visit as the fragments of movies and paintings tell their own story anyway.