The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, November 25-December 1

velvet goldmine-gatefold

Velvet Goldmine (1998)
Directed by Todd Haynes
For many of glam rock’s elitists, Velvet Goldmine‘s greatest achievement is a damnable offense: the arcs of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed are conveyed via intoxicating nostalgia, allusion (their names are never used; their androgynous likenesses replaced by pretty boys Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Ewan McGregor) and embellishment (many of the stories are pulled from unauthorized accounts) over accuracy. But when it comes to a musical genre largely dependent on mythos and ambiguity, brazenly theatrical storytelling is the only option. Risking presumptuousness, Haynes places the short-lived cultural phenomenon on an eclectic plane shared by Oscar Wilde (a man who fell to Earth destined for queer idolatry) and Orson Welles (the investigative structure, which probes the whereabouts of a Bowie-like icon following his faked assassination, is cribbed from Citizen Kane), all while critiquing the commodification and idealism of celebrity. With Haynes, the only “correct” interpretation of an icon is a personal one. Max Kyburz (November 28, 6:30pm; November 29, 2pm at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Haynes retrospective)

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