Do you believe that perfection creates madness, or madness creates perfection? Time and time again, film explores the relationship between the artist and the pursuit of complete and total mastery of their craft. What will it take to be the best of the best? What will be sacrificed? In most cases, the artist pays a hefty price for the highest form of achievement, but is it all worth it in the end? All too often, the artist loses relationships, personal autonomy, and in some instances, even sanity. It’s a tightrope that many must walk for the sake of a perfect performance and the hearts of spectators. The latest film to explore this symbiotic relationship is Richard Shepherd’s The Perfection. The Perfection takes viewers in the dark recesses of the competitive world of music.
For decades, filmmakers have been endlessly fascinated with telling the stories behind World War II, one of the darkest and tumultuous periods in history. Since the war’s conclusion, many stories emerged beyond the remains. However, there are still many aspects of history that were lost over time. There’s still so much we don’t know, and may never know. Despite the hundreds of films, documentaries, and books, some important parts of history fall between the cracks. In her latest film, director/writer Amma Asante aims to showcase a different perspective of Nazi Germany in Where Hands Touch.
Inspired by the hidden history of the cruelly-named Rheinlandbastarde, Where Hands Touch centers the story around a mixed-race German girl by the name of Leyna (Amandla Stenberg). Born of a French-Senegalese father and German mother (Abbie Cornish), Leyna struggles to find her place in an increasingly hostile Nazi Germany. Leyna loves her country, yet her own country demonstrates it doesn’t love her back. Believing herself to be a true German, Leyna initially believes she is safe from the wrath of the Third Reich.
Since 2005, YouTube has been the haven for creative individuals to express themselves and bypass the industry gatekeepers. A blessing an a curse to the general public, the platform has spawned legions of careers for singers and makeup gurus, comedians and “influencers” of god knows what. For the millennial generation, can you remember what life was like before the age of sharing everything on camera? Before now, what did we have to share our creativity and parts of our lives with our community? For some, that medium was public access television. In its heyday, public access TV was a breeding ground for original, and unconventional entertainment in a golden age of sitcoms and teen soap operas.
Back in the nineties, Ruthie Marantz had her own public access show in Manhattan. Her show, Rainbow Ruthie and the Color Kids gained a cult following during its run. Ruthie’s allure was that she was just a young girl having fun and speaking her mind, something not so common during the time. In various episodes, Ruthie is seen interacting with people on the streets of New York City, and occasionally running into celebrities at events, such as the Spice Girls.
Elle Fanning is one of today’s biggest indie darlings, proving herself to be an electric screen presence. One of the industry’s most exciting young actresses, Fanning’s resume is pretty extensive for a twenty one year-old. In Max Minghella’s directorial debut Teen Spirit, Fanning stars as a young woman whose angelic voice takes her to an national singing competition. A fun entry to the “showbiz” film genre, Teen Spirit is a modern Cinderella story that takes its heroine on an adventure from a small town to the big time.
In the past year, films with flawed female artists have hit cinemas, and have sparked important conversations. Vox Lux, Her Smell, and A Star is Born depict some heavy subjects, but Teen Spirit is a lighthearted and optimistic view into the music industry. Mining inspiration from the likes of singing competitions such as American Idol and The Voice, Teen Spirit follows the circus of competition, and the passion for the underdog.