I have this great fascination with all things 70s, and of course Halston defined American 70s fashion, so I was so looking forward to seeing Frederic Tcheng’s documentary ‘Halston,’ which is about his life and legacy. And we get a sense of that, through interviews with family members and people he worked with. The big framework of the movie focuses on how he lost access to his own name, and at the time it was a concept unheard of. Nowadays, it’s a pretty common occurrence – see Donna Karan, Jo Malone, for example. Plus, it was interesting that part of his ‘downfall’ was that he agreed to do a collection for JC Penney, which catered more for the masses, and nowadays every designer does capsule collections for H & M or Target. I wished they focused more on the fashion, for he was truly revolutionary int he way he ushered women away from tailored silhouettes to nice-free flowing dressed cut from the bias. I was at a screening the director said that what fascinated him was the business aspect of Halston’s legacy. I wish it focused more on how his style influenced the overall look of the 70s. (Thought there’s right mention of a great highlight – when Jackie Kennedy wore his pillbox hat during her husband’s inauguration, and I love the little trivia – of how she touched it and dented it and everyoen copied the dent) I loved how they interviewed Liza Minnelli and she refused to comment on their partying shenanigans, saying she will not do that to her friend (She does the same when she was being interviewed by Michael Jackson) I think there was a more conscious effort to cut a lot of the ‘personal’ stuff although Tcheng says there will be a ‘Director’s Cut’ wherein there’s more of Halston’s lover of fifteen years. But I still am glad this documentry exists. It may not be the most ideal one for me, but I hope it starts a conversation about this great man.
Oh, this Commodity perfume line. It sure is interesting, but I can’t remember when I sampled two scents in a row that underwhelmed me.
And there is one, ‘Rain,’ that I truly detested. This is purportedly an aquatic fragrance, and they even describe it as ‘rain in a tropical forest.’ Well, the first blast for me was so unappealing – it was so sharp and pungent. The notes listing say bergamot and verbena but this is more cement. Actually, the Alaia fragrance had a similar description, but that was done beautifully. This is an awkward mess of a scent. Scrubber! The drydown is a bit better – the tropical flowers do come out, but they are of the synthetic kind. Still a pass.
On my other wrist is Commodity Mimosa. This is a floral citrus, and is supposed to be the mimosa flower. And sure, I do get that on the top notes. But as the scent developed, it turns soapy. I went to my friend and said, ‘doesn’t this smell like Dial soap to you,’ and she agreed. Well, at least the color is in the same family. While inoffensive, I think Mimosa is, again, weird.
This made me think about weird vs. quirky. For example, I associate a lot of Etat Libre d’Orange as weird scents, but weird in an amusing and fun kind of way. These two scents from Commodity are just plain odd. Like ‘head-scratching odd.
Margo Pelletier’s ‘Thirsty’ should have been a better film and it makes me sad that is isn’t. It’s all over the place – part biography, part musical, part fantasy – and never settles into a cohesive theme. The screenplay never really amounted into a story of something. That said, it had some good ideas, exploring complicated relationships between gays sons and their mothers, and even touches on gender fluidity. Scott Townsend, starring as the sane character as himself, gives an uneven performance for me – at times it had too much energy that makes it exhausting to watch. But I don’t really want to knock this totally – I am glad this film exists as it gives trans visibility.
How do young people fall in love in the age of Trump? Ry Russo-Young’s ‘The Sun Is Also A Star’ gives us a glimpse. The He is Daniel Bae (Charles Melton) and he is Korean, and the She is Natasha Kingsley (Yara Shahidi) and she is Jamaican. They meet in New York City but there is a hitch – she and her family are being deported back to Jamaica, and they have a day to fall in love. Can they do it?
If you don’t think they can then you have a heart of stone. Or maybe you just cannot suspend disbelief. Tracy Oliver’s screenplay (based on Nicola Yoon’s YA book) asks you to do that a lot here, and it could really get tiresome. But if you believe in love, and you believe in fate, then you should not have a problem enjoying this film.
The attractive actors make everything easy to swallow. At my prime time screening, the crowd erupted in applause when the two finally kissed. I am as hopeless a romantic as anyone, but at times I found some of the details of the plot cringe-worthy. But I enjoyed it more than I didn’t, and I really appreciated New York City basking in the sun. Moreover, I loved the authentic background flavor for the two leads. The filmmakers made sure we see that they are Korean and Jamaican. So I can’t totally hate on this. I can only celebrate.
About a quarter in on Joanna Hogg’s ‘The Souvenir,’ there were a handful of walk-outs on my afternoon screening. I can empathize. So far, the story wasn’t progressing much, and it seemed slow and the style on the self-indulgent side. But there’s a certain something in the movie that makes me keep on watching, there’s something there that draws me in. Perhaps I see that something in the character of Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) who is developing a relationship, maybe, with Anthony (Tom Burke) But there’s a lot of murkiness there – are they dating. At some point they seem to be sleeping on the same bed, but joking about concrete divisions.
The title of the movie is from a painting by Jean Honore Fragonard, and it is of a woman who is carving her initials on a tree. She is in love, perhaps, as she seems to be holding a letter which she probably just got from her lover. The painting is a perfect metaphor for the film – how you view it depends on how you have experienced love. The most attractive part of the movie is that we see Julie change before our eyes, and by the end of the film, she is transformed to a person who has had a life-changing experience. Or perhaps she just fell in love. We all have, and damn it if we don’t see a mirror of our life in there somewhere. The film is not about a plot, or a story. This film is all about a feeling, akin to what that painting will represent in your life. This film is close to a masterpiece.
I want to see it again, and I wonder what part I will focus more. The film got ingrained in my head I literally dreamed about the characters the night I saw it. I wonder how long they will haunt me.
I have a Fragrance Friend at work (we spray each other what we are wearing everyday) and she sprayed me her new obsession: Commodity Nectar. Actually, she has been talking about the Commodity line for a while now, and I confess I do not know much about it. I know it is very popular in the fragrance community, and I am sure an older version of me would be as obsessed. She gave me her wrist and I smelled something divine – floral and sweet, and ‘lived in.’ She says it’s honeysuckle, and I blurted yes, and I love that note in perfume, which I don’t see a lot of.
And then she sprayed on my skin. The initial blast was pure cologne on my skin – a citrus blend of bergamot and tangerine (sorry, Italian tangerine, as per the list of notes) I think I get some orange blossom as well, and I love anything orange blossom so that was a great welcome. And the weirdest thing – no honeysuckle on my skin, just that citrus cologne mixture. Okay, maybe a slight hint of it, but nowhere near what I smelled on my friend.
Update: An hour in, still no sign of that honeysuckle.
‘Marilyn’ is that kind of movie that will make you think, and will probably make you angry, and its ending will definitely shock you. Directed by Martin Rodriguez Redondo, it is the story of Marco (Walter Rodriguez) who lives with his family of ranch hands in rural Argentina. He is seventeen years old, and i discovering his sexual orientation. His world is small, and has to fit within its restrictive norms. Most days he is stoic but he fully comes into himself during Carnival where he wears a dress and has a chance to be ‘himself.’ The film is on the short side, but it packs a lot, and I was engrossed instantly. Rodriguez is fantastic, and you will empathize with his character for the most part, even as the final scene will see a drastic shift in him.