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Love, Cecil

Lisa Immordino Vreeland‘s lively doc about famous British glamour photographer Cecil Beaton is above all a celebration of his images and rightly so.


Cecil Beaton‘s sister Nancy swings in a dream made out of cellophane in artificial fairy heaven, 1929. Queen Elizabeth, in front of a light blue background, in a long black marine coat with golden buttons, looking to the left almost wistfully, statuary and gentle, but modern and clearly in reference of Elizabeth‘s military past at the same time: an image of leadership by Cecil Beaton, 1968. His men, first the glamor portraits of Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, and Mick Jagger that seem to jump out of the frame with their eroticism. Lisa Immordino Vreeland‘s film LOVE, CECIL is biographical to be sure, but most of all it is a flood of images featuring the most grandiose glamor photographer of all time. A portrait is all about the idea of a person, says Beaton, and he clearly means his personal idea that always aims at creating the biggest theatrical effect possible. You can call it beauty, which is what happens in this film time and again, but there is also the difficulty of bypassing the different styles and contradictons in Beaton‘s work. The film is a celebration of images and Beaton‘s individualism. It‘s delightful to see how Beaton‘s joyful, queer aesthetic mixes up eras, how he connects dandyism, German expressionism, and art nouveau with modern materials in his early work and how he was received in the 1960s with his cool, erotic portraits. The wow effect stacks by the second. Nothing is observed more closely than that, it‘s solely a homage to a master of style who, in an era where homosexuality was legally banned in England, was the most important photographer of the royal family for almost 40 years.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


USA 2017, 98 min
Genre: Documentary
Director: Lisa Immordino Vreeland
Author: Lisa Immordino Vreeland
DOP: Shane Sigler
Montage: Bernadine Colish
Music: Phil France
Distributor: StudioCanal
Release: 12.07.2018





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