Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2012

"High Art," Odd Jewish (Sort of) Movie

Departing from my usual fare, I had Netflix send me High Art, a 1998 movie set in the drug-addled art-magazine world in New York. The cast had promise, with Ally Sheedy, Patricia Clarkson (struggling and failing to maintain a German accent) and Radha Mitchell. The photo-magazine setting also caught my interest, but the druggy characters and dark settings dampened my mood. Ally Sheedy as Lucy looked dreadfully gaunt as an alienated star photographer in emotional exile—I hope that was just acting, not real life.

What added an odd angle to High Art was Sheedy's interaction with her mother, an upper-class German-Jew who rails against Sheedy's German girlfriend and drives a Mercedes. The strained mother-daughter relationship and the explicit Jewish angle (including a scene with Shabbat candles in the background) were so at odds with the blank backgrounds of the other characters that I had to wonder what was going on.

Did Holocaust traumas drive Lucy's drugging and withdrawal? W…

Thinking About Body Images and "Someday Melissa"

I typically scan the New York Times obituary page for lives well lived, but the December 21 edition with the tiny-type paid notices was wrenching with its sketches of too-soon loss. One very long notice was for Suzanne Hart, the advertising executive killed in an elevator accident a week earlier. By contrast, the memorial notice for Melissa Rose Avrin ran only 7 lines, plus a photo. It read,
Dec. 21, 1989-May 6, 2009. Your movie is a reality. It's changing lives around the world in the battle against Eating Disorders. Missing and loving you forever, Mom. I followed the link and found that "Someday Melissa" is the name of a documentary made by Melissa's mother, Judy Avrin, as a response to Melissa's death at 19 from a heart attack related to her bulimia. It has already accepted at a film festival and screened at medical schools, universities and Jewish community centers. Someday Melissa includes journal entries from Melissa and interviews w…