Friday, May 2, 2008

Tribeca Film Festival - Tuesday, April 29

I saw a single film on Tuesday - Guest of Cindy Sherman. The thing that it's important to know about this documentary is that it's not primarily about Cindy Sherman. It's mainly about a guy named Paul H-O (also the co-director) who used to have a public access TV show about the NY art scene. He met Cindy and for some reason the notoriously private and press-shy artist agreed to let him tape a series of interviews as she worked on her next show.

They end up dating, and even live together for several years. By all accounts she seems to be a fabulous girlfriend, but she becomes more and more famous and the art world took on a sort of celebrity and fame aspect, and his ego couldn't handle being the accessory to her growing success. His frustration culminates in an event (a dinner in her honor, if I remember correctly) where he is shunted off to a distant table, with a name card that simply says "Guest of Cindy Sherman."

It's sort of interesting and sort of disheartening. Paul wants to be in the art world, more than he wants to be an artist. And above all he seems to want attention. You get the sense that the relationship couldn't survive because he couldn't tolerate living in her shadow. But the title of the film, ostensibly a reference to the offending name card, is also an admission that the thing Paul H-O is most famous for is having been Cindy Sherman's boyfriend, and if he doesn't invoke her name, a lot fewer people would go see it.

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