Guest of Cindy Sherman (USA; 88 min.)

directed by:Tom Donahue and Paul Hasegawa-Overacker
Guest of Cindy Sherman

Bruce says: "Having the pleasure of seeing slick documentaries such as MAN ON WIRE, PROTAGONIST, and SHUT UP AND SING one tends to be somewhat spoiled by their detailed scripting and/or high production values.   It is important to keep in mind that many documentaries – CHRIS AND DON: A LOVE STORY immediately comes to mind – evolve from archival footage and their stories often tell themselves rather than relying on a script.  The keynote of this type of documentary is that no one knew a documentary would be made when the footage was shot.  Such is the case with GUEST OF CINDY SHERMAN.

"Serendipity led me to GUEST OF CINDY SHERMAN.  A friend had invited me to see this film thinking it was THE FEATURE, another documentary co-directed by a Michael Auder who was married to Cindy Sherman.   Paul Hasegawa-Overacker (or Paul H-O as he often calls himself), co-director of GUEST OF CINDY SHERMAN, also lived with Sherman for six years although they never married.  Both documentaries draw upon home movies and roughly shot videos.   Sherman is becoming notable for her liaisons which, in addition to the aforementioned filmmakers, include Steve Martin and David Byrne. 

"Paul H-O came to New York to be an artist.  A typical New York story, he became a minor celebrity not for his art but for another endeavor, a weekly cable TV show called Gallery Beat.  H-O covered the New York downtown art scene in the 90’s taking a video camera to gallery openings.  Occasionally the show featured interviews with individual artists.  When H-O stated he wanted to interview Cindy Sherman, an already established commodity in the art world, his co-workers laughed.  The laughter subsided when Sherman agreed to the interview.  Paul and Cindy hit it off from the very beginning.  The early videos are flirtatious and whimsical; they also are quite insightful about her creative process and her work.   So begins their six year relationship during which Paul moves in with Cindy and films her continuously.  It is also the period during which Sherman becomes a superstar of the art world.  Sherman was elevated to goddess-like status by the elite to whom H-O was all but invisible.   H-O’s story of the denouement that began the unraveling of the relationship is moving.  David Furnish, Elton John’s husband, tells a similar story about being the less famous half of a couple.  It’s not always easy and some clearly handle it better than others.

"An impressive list of talking heads pepper the screen: Spencer Tunick, Brice Marden, Ross Bleckner, Eli Broad, Christine Vachon, Julian Schnabel, Eric Fischl, April Gornik, Laurie Simmons, Sara Charlesworth and the ubiquitous John Waters.  They discuss Sherman’s career and her relationship with H-O.  While Sherman gave a green light to this project, she asked that no photos be shown of her and H-O together.  The film rambles a bit; however the journey into the bowels of the art world proves fascinating.    3.5 cats"