Review

Streaming now: Kirsten Stewart offers a performance in film that had great potential

By Rick Romancito
For the Taos News
Posted 5/30/20

The first clue that “Seberg,” the new film from Amazon Studios starring Kristen Stewart, is not exactly what you might expect shows up in the tag line that states it is “inspired by …

You have exceeded your story limit for this 30-day period.

Please log in to continue

Log in
Review

Streaming now: Kirsten Stewart offers a performance in film that had great potential

Posted
The first clue that “Seberg,” the new film from Amazon Studios starring Kristen Stewart, is not exactly what you might expect shows up in the tag line that states it is “inspired by real events.” 
 
In movie ad-speak this means the director, Benedict Andrews, looked at those real life events and found them needing a little modern spice. That’s too bad, because the real life of Jean Seberg was filled with rich material that didn’t need the kind of treatment we see here. 
 
Seberg was an Iowa-born actress who rocketed to international stardom after appearing in Jean-Luc Godard’s groundbreaking thriller “Breathless” (1960). She was 22. Godard’s film, written by François Truffaut, was one of a variety of works beginning in the late 1950s that were part of the French New Wave. This was a highly influential art movement that rejected traditional filmmaking that emphasized craft over improvisation, social consciousness, and gritty, realistic technique. It would change the way movies were made forever. 
 
Seberg had already appeared in Otto Preminger’s ‘Saint Joan” and the comedy ‘The Mouse That Roared,” but it was “Breathless” that turned her into a fashion and political icon.
 
Her life by then was influenced by European mores, which shocked American sensibilities of the time. She had an open marriage to Romain Gary, a French novelist and film director, with whom she had a son. Part of her association with her French film colleagues, coupled with observation of the growing actions surrounding civil rights, the Vietnam War, President Nixon’s government corruption, and the rise of a worldwide youth movement, her personal politics underwent radicalism.
 
Granted, in the new film, Andrews pays lip service to the fact that Seberg, in her effort to show an honest regard to fight racism and bigotry in the late 1960s fell in with members of the Black Panthers Movement and also drew covert attention by the FBI. But, the director seems more interested in finding ways to make Stewart look good in trendy outfits of the day. 
 
What happened to the real Seberg is a cautionary tale that has largely been forgotten today. It involved the volatile politics, race, and social consciousness of the era that form a straight line to parallels of our own right now. More specifically, it delves into the huge Nixon-FBI scandal involving the secret and highly illegal COINTELPRO teams whose mission was to use surveillance to discredit and destroy the personal and professional lives of anyone Nixon or FBI head J. Edgar Hoover chose. Seberg herself died at age 40 under mysterious circumstances.
 
While Andrews can be faulted for the mess this movie became, a large part of the blame can also be shared by screenwriters Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse. Their script never gets to the heart of Seberg’s motives or the motivations of her character. And, there is also Stewart, whose acting style simply doesn’t do her subject justice. 
 
At imdb.com, there is a quote by the real Seberg that lends a certain insight to her character. “In my long and difficult and mature life, I have come to learn that the less I know about acting and the more I know about everything else, the better I'll be at both acting and living.” She was one of a kind.
 
Incidentally, “Breathless” and “Saint Joan” are available for free on Youtube.
 
“Seberg” is rated R for language, sexual content/nudity and some drug use. It is streaming on Amazon Prime.
 
Tempo grade: B+
 
Also showing in the Taos Center for the Arts’ Big Screen @ Home series
 
Booksellers
Documentary
Not rated
Ticket $9.99
Available at tcataos.org
 
Antiquarian booksellers are part scholar, part detective and part businessperson, and their personalities and knowledge are as broad as the material they handle. They also play an underappreciated yet essential role in preserving history. “The Booksellers" takes viewers inside their small but fascinating world, populated by an assortment of obsessives, intellects, eccentrics and dreamers.
 
This film will be available to view Friday (May 29) through June 5, 2020.
 
CRSHD
Comedy
Not rated.
Ticket $10
Available at tcataos.org
 
End-of-the-year celebrations are underway at a small liberal arts college in Ohio. The night's main event? A “Crush Party.” The rules? Submit your crush and they get an invite. Or if you're "crushed," you also get an invite. Freshman Izzy Alden (Isabelle Barbier} is still a virgin and the crush party is her last chance to do something about it before summer break. She and her two best friends, Anuka Deshpande (Deeksha Ketkar) and Fiona Newman (Sadie Scotte), chase their crushes both in real life and online. But Izzy's moral compass skews as the night progresses and it seems her quest to have sex might cost Izzy her friends.
 
This film will be available to view now through June 12, 2020.
 
Pahokee
Drama
Not rated.
Ticket $12
Available at tcataos.org
 
A detailed and nuanced portrait of a tightly knit rural community in the Florida Everglades. In this small agricultural town, hopes for the future are concentrated on young people.  This complex and multi-layered work follows four teens as they face heartbreak and celebrate in the social and collective rituals of an extraordinary senior year. Directed by Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan.
 
This film will be available to view now through June 12, 2020.
 
Papicha
Drama
Not rated.
Ticket $12
Available at tcataos.org
 
Based on her own experiences during the Algerian Civil War, this powerful debut film from Mounia Meddour Gens centers on 18-year-old Nedjma, an aspiring fashion design student whose radiant, wild personality is challenged when Islamic protesters disrupt the safe haven of her Western-friendly university. As students begin to abandon their education in fear for their safety, Nedjma and her friends brave the forbidden to stage a controversial fashion show.
 
This film will be available to view now through June 12, 2020.
 
 
How does Big Screen TCA @ HOME work? 
  • Go to tcataos.org/calendar/ and click on the movie you want to watch.
  • Then, click on the WATCH MOVIE link. After that, it’s easy! You will “buy a ticket,” and be able to view the film. 
  • Watch on your computer, smartphone, tablet. Or, depending on the film, cast to your Apple TV, Google Chromecast or Roku. 
  • Instructions for how to watch on smart TVs are available at ticket purchase.
 
Why do movies cost between $10-$12? These offerings are new releases and/or not widely available films. If you were going to see this on a big screen, a single entry at the Taos Community Auditorium costs between $7-$8.50. If there are 2 or more of you, it’s a deal! And even though TCA does not set the ticket price (the digital distributors do), we receive 50 percent of the ticket sales.
 
Why are time frames for viewing upon purchasing a ticket different? Virtual cinema platforms differ depending on the film’s distributor. The entire film industry is working fast to pivot during this time when social gatherings are prohibited. So, for now, there is no industry standard and different organizations have different ideas for how to “present” films digitally. 
 
 
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres in Taos remains closed for the time being in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Until it reopens we will focus on movie reviews available online and through the TCA’s Big Screen @ Home series. 

Comments

Private mode detected!

In order to read our site, please exit private/incognito mode or log in to continue.