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Slant Magazine Dissects Todd Haynes

Slant Magazine Dissects Todd Haynes

Photo: Getty Images

Todd Haynes is my favorite queer filmmaker, so the film geek in me was thrilled to see him as this month's subject of Slant Magazine's "Conversations" series. While over 50 pages long, this critical analysis by Jason Bellamy and Ed Howard offers delightfully nerdy insights into the director's films and demonstrates just how complex and emotional they can be:

Here's a glimpse of what you're in for:

--On Superstar: "There's an affinity between the Barbie doll and Karen Carpenter that goes beyond the most obvious level, the idea that we, as a culture, view celebrities as plastic icons to play with until we get bored. Barbie stands in for a whole culture that encourages women to pursue unrealistic and unhealthy images of bodily "perfection," to spurn food, to shrink themselves down into stick-figure skeletons."

--On Safe: "Haynes, like Lynch, likes to create these exaggerated white picket fence ideals in order to deconstruct them, to explore the metaphysical horror beneath these sleek surfaces: a tendency captured in that charged closeup of Carol about to lop off the bud of a yellow flower, an image of tranquil beauty on the verge of being destroyed."

--On Far From Heaven: "By transposing his modern style and concerns into the past, Haynes forces the viewer to consider whether this story is a relic of a bygone era, or if it still retains its power and relevance because the prejudices it depicts are still around, perhaps in some less obvious form."

So what do we have to look forward to from the director? Haynes just finished wrapping his next project, a five-hour adaptation of Mildred Pierce for HBO. The mini-series stars Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce and was produced by Haynes' long-time collaborator Christine Vachon (photo).

-- NICK STERGIOPOULOS

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