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Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Jan
Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus

from Film Forum, 11/30/06

Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, directed by Steven Shainberg (Secretary), is a speculative fiction about Diane Arbus's famous career as a photographer. But according to most critics, that fiction falls far short of profound.

Greg Wright (Past the Popcorn) says, "As much as Shainberg is a fan of Arbus' photography—as much as he was steeped in it as a child—his film communicates nothing of its power, nor of the power of her method. Where Arbus let her images speak for themselves, including all the rough edges, Shainberg must spell things out for us, stripping away every last layer of fur to lay bare the beauty beneath—and hammer us over the head with it."

Harry Forbes (Catholic News Service) calls it "cinematically inventive" and says, "Some may take … issue with such embroidering of reality, but as the film is based on Arbus' biography (the only one thus far) by Patricia Bosworth, who also co-produced the film, one must assume a reasonable degree of emotional, if not factual, authenticity."

Mainstream critics aren't going "fur" it.

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