Hundreds of blogs have already talked about the two Richard Phillips mini films released recently at the Venice Biennale and presented by the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture. Some viewers claim to find these shorts nauseating while others, like me, savoured the images of beautiful, lonely, insecure and uneasy creatures (Lindsay Lohan and Sasha Grey) awake in their own dreams. Meticulously created, they tell the story of the sordid intensity of Hollywood, its dangerously tempting edge and emotionally decaying girls. The failed actress/singer/fashion designer and the porn star longing to find a pattern to life, to make sense of the nature of their existence in the LA bubble. Both shorts bear a close relationship with classical paintings and frequently refer to iconic film moments. They’re not glazed with sentimentality or romanticized and the unusual nature of the pieces is exactly what makes them compelling, fascinating and haunting. The silent narrative is issue-driven and talks about how contemporary culture pollutes successful characters heartlessly. Bleak but also incredibly beautiful, I thought these two short films were powerful responses to today’s faintly chilling fame machine. With this first foray into the world of cinematography and heightened realism, Richard Phillips hovers between pure painterly form and traditional moving image. Inspired.
Video courtesy of the Gagosian Gallery