Sundance Review: About Face (Premier)

After waiting in line for a reaaallly long time and coming down to the wire on wait list spots I managed to get a seat at the premier of About Face:Supermodels Then, And Now, a documentary by the photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders about aging beauties in the modern world. This film traces the lives of a group of supermodels (eager to point out that they are not "former" supermodels since they are still the same women they were when they graced the covers of every magazine) as they age beyond a photograph. Seeing these women who I have only known in photographic form speak was nearly disorienting, each one a fully formed human character that their silent  images alone could never fully convey.

To highlight a few: Jerry Hall was fantastic ( "I love getting older, it allows me to be more eccentric!"), Isabella Rossellini was as intelligent, glamourous and witty as ever, and Beverly Johnson (the first African American to grace the cover of Vogue) was a non-apologetic powerhouse! Each woman in the film dissected more than reminisced about the culture of modeling they grew up in beginning from their childhood (models are too young!) where they were clothes hangers, sex symbols and ads for a coveted lifestyle to the present day where they are mothers, fashion lovers and business women. The film makes an interesting timeline of the modeling industry (from civil rights to curfews to the feminist revolution to Studio 54 to anti-aging mania) and each woman comes to their own personal understanding of their situation (some mentors to the younger generation of models, some fashion editors, some regretting the drugs, some holding onto their looks through the power of botox and raw food). About Face is a meditation on beauty and life, a must watch for every woman fooled into thinking beauty is only skin deep. (pic below of Q&A with Greenfield-Sanders, China Machado, Beverly Johnson and Carol Alt) Also a special sidenote/shout-out to a good lovely/exuberant/recently made blonde friend of mine, Anna Yanofsky, who did some interning on this film- a round of applause for her fashion archive know-how!



 

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