Before the screening of the Art Star and the Sudanese Twins at the Play Circle in UW Memorial Union, a well-dressed, fidgety volunteer shared a few jumbled words about eccentric artist Vanessa Beecroft's obsession to adopt two African children.
The volunteer scratched his head and stepped side-to-side while saying words like "ethical", "um", "enraged" and "yet" to describe his impression of the film after his first, second and third viewing. Certainly, his tormented nature was due to nerves and stage fright.
But after watching the complex film, I, too, am pacing back and forth, scratching my head, attempting to what the hell I just saw and what it has evoked.
Beecroft is famed for her live sculptures of naked women. Initially, the women are beautiful, aligned aesthetically, and poised to stand in formation for hours. As time goes on, the models turn tired, irritable, and their humanity and embarrassment becomes the art that Beecroft relishes. Beecroft is like her work: initially captivating, eventually repulsive. Just like her quest to adopt two babies she nursed on her first voyage to Sudan.
No applause sealed the deal at the closing credits, but the power of this film rang loud and clear.
Devour the Art Star and the Sudanese Twins in a second Wisconsin Film Festival screening on Sunday, April 6 at 7:45 p.m. in the Play Circle and have discussion for dessert.