Last night I met up with my pal, Alan, and we took in a viewing of the much debated film “about” Diane Arbus. The film, FUR, has come under a great deal of criticism. And, I was expecting to hate it. I love the work of Diane Arbus and have always felt she had a truly fascinating life and eye. I could not really fathom why someone would opt to create “an imagined” portrait of her life.
It didn’t take me long to understand. I am aware that there are a number of folks who disagree with me, but this film takes us to places I’ve not yet visited and it avoids the typical TV movie cliches that most bio films fall into. There is very little “truth” to be found in this film when it comes to the facts of her life — but this film is not so much about Arbus as it is about her art.

Every scene is framed with care. Every use of light serves a purpose. And, as we watch a de-ethnitized/de-constructed Diane Arbus meet/fall in love with her “id” — make love to it, accept it and jump head first into the mysteries of life that seemed to capture her every blink — we are pulled into a warped and beautiful world of imagination and celebration of the inner-freak. So perfectly composed.

We are also given a disturbing view of suicide and the immense sadness of self that can lead to that. However, it seems this film is missing an audience. I suspect this is because of the casting of the most odd choice to play Arbus and the seeming inability of the 21st Century to fully grasp romance and self-discovery. Interesting. We are living in a time that is in desperate need of real romance and focus on “self” ….Oh, well. I LOVED it! I put it up there as one of the best I’ve seen this year.

I am trying to save money and lose my “new marriage” weight of about 8 pounds. So, I’ve not been eating sugar, trying to only eat half of whatever is served and walking a lot. I had a doctor’s appointment today. Last night, I purchased a large popcorn (even tho I can’t finish one — the thing is I can’t stand the idea of spending $3 on a tiny bag of popcorn when I can get a large one for just 50 cents more)

So, I got that and a large Diet Coke. I guess I ate about half the silo of popcorn and half the large Diet Coke. When I got home I had 3 classes of water. I woke up late so I opted to skip breakfast. I went to the doctor during my lunch hour at 1:00PM. They took blood tests. This was just a check up. All is fine. Anyway, I had lost 4 pounds! Yay! But, after they took my blood — I was just chatting away to the nurse who drew it. I stood up as we were laughing and I started to pass out.

Well, I got lectured up and down. I had to lie down, drink juice and promise to go have a full lunch. I did. And, I ate half my plate of dinner. …and, I am going to allow myself half a cookie. I walked home tonight. Sigh. Food. I guess one needs it. Money. I guess I need to make more of it.

I wish I had a coat of the hair of my “id” …I think it would be blonde and wavy. It would blow in the wind, keep me warm and require me to move to Malibu. I can’t take very good pictures, tho. And, while I do like to face what scares me — i don’t really like to hang out with those things all the time.

If you’ve seen the film you know the closing exchange of lines. I loved those two lines as I think they rather sum up Arbus’ work.

Can you tell me a secret?

November 21, 2006. Uncategorized.


  1. ing replied:

    I wondered if this would be good. How was Nicole Kidman? I never really wanted to like her, but I’ve loved the majority of the films I’ve seen her in. She chooses her roles well.

    If I hadn’t already read Virginia Woolf (amazing!) I might have liked her better in The Hours. I think. But Dogville! Birthday Girl! To Die For! Dead Calm! (I guess I haven’t seen that many of her films — she’s made a lot of them. Bewitched was really stupid, and I couldn’t get into Eyes Wide Shut.)

    Ginab saw the Arbus Exibit at the SFMOMA with me a few years back. . . Maybe she’ll visit soon.

  2. josh williams replied:

    I always liked Diane Arbus, I am a big fan of Eugene Smith,two stand outs, I had forgotten about these people, names and photos from my formative years,still forming,thank you.
    I’ll have to hunt down the movie, I miss the old influences. I might be inspired, time to buy a decent digital.

  3. matt replied:

    Ing – I REALLY loved this film. Nicole Kidman would have been terribly mis-cast had she been expected to actually play Arbus, but she was exceptional in this role. …which was to represent a fragment of the imagination and romance we associate with Arbus. On this level one would be hard pressed to find a better actor for the role. Tho, I always thought Lilly Taylor would be great. Yes, I think Kidman is very clever in the way she picks her roles. She seems to do 2 bad MOR films (which must pay all those designer bills) for every 1 interesting/arthouse film she tackles.

    You should check out EYES WIDE SHUT again. …it has age’d so well. I forget which critic said this, but Kubrick is like fine wine. It ages so well, but it can be an acquired flavor.

    I’ve loved Arbus since I first became aware of her. I think I was in my late teens. It was The Arbus Twins picture. I love the fact that I found that shot of them today.

    Commander Josh! You’ve outstanding tastes! Yes, see the film. Let me know what you think. Don’t go in excpecting to see a bio of her, tho. And, I hope Santa brings you a great digi cam so that you can start sharing the art inside your head!

  4. Metalchick replied:

    Hi Matt,
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Matt replied:

    “even tho I can’t finish one — the thing is I can’t stand the idea of spending $3 on a tiny bag of popcorn when I can get a large one for just 50 cents more)”

    Oh gosh Matt,didn’t you say that like 20 times the day we saw Little Children? LOL

    I think I’ll go see it with Ken on Sunday since you liked it and I think Nicole Kidman did the right thing accepting the project. She looks great in the preview trailer.

    Happy Turkey Day to you. :o)

  6. Me replied:

    Hmmmm, I don’t know. Nicole Kidman as Diane Arbus?! It makes me shudder to think, but you say you liked it?! That it worked!? Alright, we’ll see.
    For some reason I really dislike Nicole Kidman even though the only things I can remember seeing her in are The Others (which I loved) and Stepford Wives which I hated and The Hours which I was irritated by.
    But I trust your judgement so I’ll watch this, instead of pretending it doesn’t exist like I was planning on doing.
    ps: thanks for your concern, sweety, I’m still alive and kicking (if only I had those lovely Fluevog Harlows to kick in). Have to make some changes, get some rest. That’s all.

  7. matt replied:

    matt — will be anxious to hear what you think of the movie! yes. my popcorn issue. …tho, I almost ate an entire one when I saw VOLVER with Ing on Turkey Day. …but I was soooooo hungry for some reason.

    Lovely Meredith! Yes! You need those JF Harlows! Get them at once!!!! Yeah, I think you will enjoy the film. Just remember — it is not so much about Arbus as it is about the concepts/beauty within/behind/around her art. Fascinated me. Loved it.

  8. Matt replied:

    Oh my my my you ate that whole thing of popcorn? 🙂 Well you at least got the money worth right?

    Give me a call when you have a chance….still partying for my bday hahahaha

  9. matt replied:

    matt! LOL! I know! My phone has not been getting ANY reception for the last 2 days! !??!!? But, I shall call you soon!

  10. Dessie replied:

    Warning: I’m about to miss the point.

    You purchased a large tub of popcorn and ate half because it cost you 50c more? So, you bought a bigger tub of popcorn. Ate less. Paid more.

    Matty, we need to chat about economics at some stage babe.

    Kisses from wet-town, Dxx

  11. matt replied:

    Dessie – I know. It is just nuts, but I can’t stand to pay $3.95 plus tax for a small when I can get a medium/large for 4.50 plus tax. Or, worse yet — a large silo of popcorn for $5.00 plus a quarter off my Diet Coke. …this drives me mad! LOL!

    I am a total push-over/victim of marketing. …even if I get frustrated. But, I try to put up the good fight. Just last night I asked B to get me a small popcorn, but when we met he had gotten the silo and said, “But this is just 50 cents more” …however he did finish it for me.

    Ah, economics.

    It is raining here, too.

    Rainy season, you know!

  12. Kalvin replied:

    I think I might have to look into this film. Beyond that, starvation can be quite addicting. Not eating makes eating so much more lurid…

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