Star-struck a Second Time: Denys Arcand’s STARDOM

I just watched the film Stardom for the second time last night and man, what an honest work of art. Director Denys Arcand shows us that he is a true master of visual storytelling. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

In brief, Stardom tells the rags-to-riches story of a young girl who skyrockets to the top tier of the modeling industry with the aid of prominent individuals (mostly men with whom she intimately involves herself) throughout her climb. For me, the most interesting aspect of the film has to be the way the story is told through various camera lenses, from TV sitcoms and talk shows, which range from a Canadian Jerry Springer to a more traditional Late Late Show host, to the black and white voyeuristic docudrama of Bruce Taylor (wonderfully portrayed by Robert LePage, who also directed an excellent film called Far Side of the Moon back in 2003.) The diversity of color footage, which illustrates Tina Menzhal’s (Jessica Paré) life as a model as glamorous, idyllic and lush with color sharply contrasts with the darker, almost hidden truth that her life is only filled in by dominant blacks, shades of gray and the slightest hope of white. That is absolutely brilliant filmmaking.
And if you enjoy Stardom, be sure to check out Arcand’s other films of note, namely The Decline of the American Empire (1986) and its sequel The Barbarian Invasions (2003). Oldies but goodies, guaranteed!

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