Friday, October 10, 2008

Stardom

Without its interesting premise Stardom wouldn't be worth watching. However, the movie might displease many people.

Despite his talent, director Denys Arcand is also able to give us questionable movies. With the approach that he used, he thought that he'll come with a great movie.

The story follows Tina Menzhal (Jessica Paré), a girl from Cornwall (Ontario), a small Canadian town. During a hockey game, Tina is spotted by a sport photographer. As her picture goes around the world, Tina instantly becomes a celebrity. On her journey, she becomes the protégé of Bruce Taylor (Robert Lepage), a worldwide-known fashion photograph. However, as she knows fame, Tina's intimacy is constantly under attack, which will lead to her fall as a star.

One would have the feeling that Stardom plays very well with its premise. As a matter of fact, through this mildly funny film, Arcand proposes a rather strong reflexion on how our imbecile consumer society worship celebrities like any products. As a satire, Stardom is shot like a "mocumentary" that mocks talk show animators, entertainment journalists and the media as a whole. From Tina's visits and the opening of clubs, talk shows (in the like of Oprah Winfrey's) or appearances in fashion magazine, the mass media's flaws are well shown, albeit in a very exagerated way.

Nevertheless, no matter how funny it might look, Stardom is rather a failed "mocumentary". Indeed, unlike some - let's change the genre - a docudrama like Michel Brault's outstanding Les ordres, Stardom hardly seems to have a story and is a little bit too predictable. Just to give you an idea, Stardom is nothing more than a slide show of scenes that are only here to ridicules mass medias. Unfortunately, this slide show does not necessarily serve the purpose of building of coherent storyline, for some scenes don't have a logical link between them.

With that said, Stardom suffers in the execution of its script. While we switch from the "interviews" of characters (as we can see it "mocumentaries") and the story's scenes, all we see, from our own point of view (as a viewer), is what Tina is living during a moment (being interviewed by journalists or chased by paparazzis, for instance). Unfortunately, it's surprising to see that Arcand doesn't actually focus on Tina's feelings.

As a result of that, we see that Arcand doesn't seize his chance to propose us a reflexion through the development of characters. Indeed, even though Tina do say that people sees her as a product without caring for her humanity, she only does it through bland dialogues/monologues. Besides, she often repeats the same remarks on her feelings throughout the movie. In the end, we don't get to see how Tina feels when she becomes a celebrity and how she lives her fame. In a nutshell, Arcand seems better in capturing shocking scenes rather than telling a good story.

Hopefully, one might find solace in the incredibly funny performance by the cast. However, let's have in mind that their performance is just a caricature that still can't make the movie an enjoyable ride.

Rating: 2.5/5

***

Stardom
Canada/France (2000)
Length: 103 minutes
Genre: Comedy
Screenplay: Denys Arcand and Jacob Potashnik
Starring: Jessica Paré, Robert Lepage, Dan Aykroyd and Camilla Rutherford



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