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his movie is pure style - plotwise akin to a lesser Goddard but visually just so spectacularly fashionable. I guess for a satire about fashion the point is that it is a bit shallow anyhow.
Delightfully eccentric if dead cynical, "Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?" does for fashion models what Peter Watkins' "Privilege" did for rock stars two years later. Despite its sour subtext, this William Klein satire is quite accessible and seems strangely forgotten. Perhaps audiences were confused about whether the film truly belonged in the "foreign" bin. Given that both the writer-director and star were American, should the story have been set in New York instead of Paris?
Dorothy MacGowan -- a real-life fashion queen who abruptly quit show business after this battering role -- plays Polly, a vulnerable supermodel. MacGowan has an interesting, unconventional look. She's covered with light freckles and has a mild case of buckteeth, but is stunning all the same. Her mascara is ridiculously thick, but of course this was the 1960's. She doesn't have much of a personality, and comes off like a blank slate who has thoughts draped on her just as easily as dresses.
This pop-culture portrait is light on plot, but the main threads find Polly pursued by two lovestruck men: a foreign prince (Sami Frey) who aims to marry her and a TV host (Jean Rochefort) who's shooting a pseudo-insightful documentary with the same title as the film. But these erratic courtships are secondary to episodic glimpses of Polly's chaotic, stressful lifestyle.
What's most endearing about "Polly Maggoo" is that Klein's filmmaking becomes wilder and wilder as the movie continues. The first half-hour is relatively straightforward (the highlight is a fashion show with bulky aluminum outfits that look like deconstructed Chinese-takeout cartons), but then the craziness starts. The jump cuts and surreal insertions begin piling up, and there's even cut-out animation and superimposed graphics. The radical editing and emphasis on interviews and cameras betray an obvious Godard influence, but Klein's version is free of his inspiration's frosty intellectualism.
"Polly Maggoo" seems tailor-made for MacGowan, and not just because "Maggoo" is a twist on her own name. The flashed magazine covers are presumably from her past modeling jobs, and there's a still of her screaming for the Beatles that apparently was responsible for her being "discovered." She's a charismatic presence and a decent actress, and she speaks French well besides. Too bad she bowed out of the game so early.
There is style in its striking B&W photography of mod Paris, and there is substance in its still-relevant satire of fashion and fame, but it is a total mess as a movie.
I enjoyed the first half hour or forty-five minutes or so...but then it started playing around in an elementary way leaving no emotional connection point for the audience and the characters. The whole prince/marriage dynamic should have been left out, or done more emotionally truthful... I say "should," but I don't really believe it "should" have been any of that...it simply became an experimental film with no driving reason. Does there have to be a reason? No. But when there's no reason, or statement, why care? Pretty pictures...yeah, there some neat images. The whole discourse about fashion, being young/old, narcissistic...were discussed in such elementary ways, often with no driving purpose rather than simply to state these things...as if the auteur was attempting at making the audience think he was a philosopher. There was one scene though that discussed the reason for being which I enjoyed...when the TV Show guy followed Polly around her room asking her questions, and she kept turning them back onto him. My favorite part of the film is when the TV production first shows up and they shoot the first few takes of the interviews with Polly. Dorothy McGowan (Polly) really got to have fun there. When Polly behaved how she did in that scene, she was fascinating; actually Polly was fun as a character most of the time she was on screen, it simply was the voice of the director that was much too forceful, clumsy, and immature.
This is known to be a satire, but I had a feeling throughout that it wasn't originally intended to be so. I could be wrong. I know little of William Klien.
I suddenly realize I should study and try to understand him more than simply one viewing of the film before I am so quick to condemn.
Regardless, I must admit, I was distracted by the aforementioned intrusions by the director in a way contrary to my personal liking of the film. Thus, my reaction.
I won't condemn, nor accuse, but the film does not achieve my praise or fanfare.
So sorry, Polly Maggoo.
This is a b&w French film about a model named Polly. The plot is driven by a man producing a tv show called 'Who Am I?', he's doing a story on Polly and the darker side of fashion. There's a cute line where Polly asks, 'have you found out who I am yet?' Overall I found it interesting, though not always engaging.
Never mind the recent glut of (no doubt mediocre) fashion-related films--this one says/shows it all (and more).
yeah, this movie pretty much rules! normally i don't really get super into stuff that is this surreal/absurdest, but Who Are You, Polly Magoo? struck the perfect blend of ripping on stuff, making valid points about stuff, actually having a story line, looking amazing, showcasing visuals and also ideas, just about everything this film tried to do, be and take on (which was a LOT) worked out great! i am really looking forward to the rest of the Eclipse set!
strange, but enjoyable
Besides sounding like a book Dr. Seuss never wrote, this movie manages to somehow become frighteningly accurate in its satirical depiction of the fashion industry as it appears today. And having said that, I'm not really sure where to go with this because I'm not sure I completely "got" this movie. Our Ms. Maggoo is essentially a mundane canvas of a woman letting the 60s French fashion world transform her into this week's latest offering (the movie opens with a fashion show in which models are wearing sheet metal - it's almost terrifying how Klein was able to predict what might pass for fashion in 2010 back in 1966 when this was made, and yes, I honestly would not be surprised to see the sheet metal look in upcoming years given the way our society operates) as a probing television reporter and a delusional prince quest for her affection. That is about as simple a summary you can get because Klein has loaded this thing to the rafters with surreal elements and techniques. Models sport intricate haircuts so lunatic that we are amazed they do so with a straight face, random dream sequences mock American ideals and pre-conceived fantasies of affection, musical numbers show up and even some animation makes the rounds. Make no mistake, this is not an easy film to love or follow (there were some times I found it exhausting in its hyperactive pacing and edits) but it is genuinely sharp and, at times, hilarious. Plus, "Polly Maggoo" has that unique ability to sound both like an awesome name for a dog or a mixed drink.
bizarre et brillante. Esto es grande, visualmente increÃble, todo un artista de la lente.
QuÃ© vigente es su crÃtica a mi mundo consumista y decadente