BODY OF WORK: A Madonna Retrospective In NY

DangerousGame-1469114297-726x388.jpgIconoclast, provocateur, pop-priestess, showgirl, Madonna’s film roles are extensions of her self-perpetuating, highly-stylized brand: street savvy disco punk, comic book gangster’s moll, and insatiable femme fatale.
She is the auteur of her singular oeuvre, both the Svengali and muse of her enigmatic persona.
Her calculated, cohesive canon embodies a 20th Century Narcissus who elicits adoration and antipathy equally. Ultimately, the most captivating role she ever plays is Madonna. All titles will be paired with select Madonna music videos.




Dick Tracy
Amidst the triumph of “Vogue” and The Blond Ambition Tour, Dick Tracy was released, featuring the paramount role of Madonna’s career. Platinum highlights atop the curve of a midnight-black silhouette:
Madonna’s shape is pasted perfectly into the vibrant hues and sharp angles of this 1990 noir blockbuster, Beatty’s gangster marriage of Robert Siodmak, Saturday morning serials, and IB Technicolor. Dick Tracy is Madonna’s most Warholian moment, blurring the line between the dream world of Movieland and her very public personal affairs.

Body of Evidence
Madonna goes Skinimax in this overheated courtroom thriller by Uli Edel (Christiane F, Last Exit to Brooklyn), co-starring Willem Dafoe. Slightly far-reaching in its commercial agenda, Body of Evidence’s release was timed around Madonna’s Erotica album, and the bestselling (1.5 million copies worldwide in three days), fantasy-cum-photography folio Sex. A critical misfire (to put it kindly).

Truth or Dare (Q&A with Alek Keshishian, moderated by Chelsea Handler, following the 7pm screening on August 26!)
Weaving grainy black-and-white behind-the-scenes footage with sumptuous fullcolor concert sequences, Madonna: Truth or Dare juxtaposes Madonna’s highly stylized and meticulously executed stage performances with the dizzying chaos of her life on the road. The highest grossing feature-length documentary of all time upon its release, Madonna: Truth or Dare is a crucial film for generations of the LGBTQ community, exhibiting a degree of honesty and non-judgment toward sexuality rarely seen in mass-market entertainment of the time.

Shadows and Fog
Madonna said working on a Woody Allen film “was like going to the psychiatrist – not necessarily fun, but certainly educational and enlightening.” Her teeny-bit performance as a tightrope walker in his expressionist, sideshow murder-mystery, is, according to Allen, “first-rate.” Here, Madonna is the zeitgeist star who the auteur seems to always find a part for.

Dangerous Game
The most daring role of Madonna’s film career and the first movie produced by her production company
Maverick, Ferrara’s underrated masterpiece was pulled after only one week at the Art Greenwich Twin, despite Janet Maslin’s compliment that “Madonna submits impressively to the emotions raging furiously around her.” Revealingly autobiographical for both Ferrara and Madonna, two public figures consistently
caught in controversies of their own making, Dangerous Game features astonishing performances by Harvey Keitel and Ferrara’s real life wife Nancy. Norman Mailer on character Sarah Jennings: “For an actress, the role bore resemblance to going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.” Only Madonna would take such a risk.

A League Of Their Own
Capitalizing on a new and very public friendship with up-and-coming comic Rosie O’Donnell, ‘Mo and Ro’ team up with Geena Davis and Lori Petty (plus Tom Hanks as their misogynistic manager) in Penny Marshall’s feel-good chick-flick of summer 1992. As “All the Way” Mae Mordabito, Madonna affects her occasional ‘tough city-broad’ persona, with a thick Westchesta accent and zesty line readings. A July Fourth weekend home run, the critically adored comedy about an all-girls baseball team during World War II remained in theaters all summer.
Desperately Seeking Susan

Desperately Seeking Susan
According to director Susan Seidelman, when shooting began on Madonna’s debut feature, bystanders of the film’s downtown NYC locations whispered to one another, “That’s Cyndi Lauper, she’s making a screwball comedy.” By shooting’s end, after sophomore album Like a Virgin was released, security was required full-time, and Madonna hysteria had commenced, introducing America to a fashion icon and inspiring teenage mall rats across the country to don lacy cut-off gloves, frosted highlights, and oversized crucifixes.

Who’s That Girl
Loosely based on Bringing Up Baby (no disrespect to the Hawks classic intended) Madonna’s third starring role has her channeling Pre-code naughty à la Jean Harlow and Alice White. Although Vincent Canby found that “Madonna, left to her own devices and her own canny pace, is a very engaging comedian,” Who’s That Girl was a box office failure. Hard to view as other than an ostentatious promotional vehicle for the soundtrack album and 1987 world tour, both of the same name, the film does, however, feature a large wild cat.

Source : Metrograph

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