Portrait of Bruce Weber. | Courtesy Little Bear Films.
Although most people remember Bruce Weber for his iconic (and erotic) photography, he was also an accomplished filmmaker. As critic Terrence Rafferty wrote in The New York Times:
"The enduring fascination of Let’s Get Lost, the reason it remains powerful even now, when every value it represents is gone, is that it’s among the few movies that deal with the mysterious, complicated emotional transactions involved in the creation of pop culture — and with the ambiguous process by which performers generate desire. [Baker is] the front man for Mr. Weber’s meditations on image making and its discontents."
New York City's Film Forum began a retrospective of the artist's work last week, with a 25th anniversary screening of Let's Get Lost, his Oscar-nominated portrait of jazz icon (and James Dean lookalike) Chet Baker. The BRUCE WEBER retrospective continues through Nov. 21
CLICK THROUGH TO SEE IMAGES FROM 5 OF THE MUST-SEE FILMS & SHORTS
1. LET'S GET LOST (1988)
His melancholy crooning epitomized '50s cool, but Baker had become, by the time Weber finally caught up with him after three decades of fandom, an alcoholic and a junkie, those petulantly angelic looks peeping out from behind a gaunt, volleyed and crevassed face. Weber and crew follow Baker on a year-long trek, from the West Coast, to the East Coast, to Europe – including a stop at the Cannes Film Festival – interspersed with interviews with Chet, colleagues, friends, family, and old flames.
2. BROKEN NOSES (1987)
The director’s feature debut, with ex-Olympian lightweight boxer Andy Minsker devotedly coaching teenage hopefuls, even as he realizes his own dream is gone.
3. BACKYARD MOVIE (1986)
This short film will precede Broken Noses and integrates footage from the Weber family home movies.
4. CHOP SUEY (2011)
Like its namesake, a mélange: chats with Weber’s four-year photographic subject Peter Johnson; reminiscences of iconic chanteuse Frances Faye; a Doctor John/Robert Mitchum (!) recording session; and a 65-song soundtrack. Preceded by "The Boy Artist" (2008), with a young man wandering through a modern Garden of Eden.
5. THE TEDDY BOYS OF THE EDWARDIAN DRAPE SOCIETY (1996)
Screened before Let's Get Lost, this short examines the Rock-A-Billy scene still found in late-night London, in such venues as the Tennessee Rock and Roll Club.