Sneak previews of indies and features, and conversations with the most compelling luminaries in literature, photography and film

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September 16, 2014

George Hurrell: Legends in Light

The Photographer Who Defined the Hollywood Ideal

“The images that Hurrell constructed were designed to create an impossibly perfect ideal, elevating these actors and actresses into the realm of gods and goddess,” says Charlotte Rey, co-curator of George Hurrell: Legends in Light, the inaugural exhibition at MATE—the Museo Mario Testino, opened by the photographer's arts foundation in Lima, Peru—that features work by the man who is thought to have single-handedly invented the Hollywood glamour portrait. “This is an aesthetic that far outreaches the confines of the silver screen.” He initially signed up to join a Seminary in his native Chicago to train as a priest before discovering his artistic path. The Church’s loss was the film industry’s gain as Hurrell was introduced to the maelstrom that was MGM Studios and became renowned for his iconic portraits of Golden Era's leading lights including Clark Gable and Greta Garbo. “He sculpted his subjects with light, carefully crafting their flawless complexions,” says Rey, who put together the show with her creative partner Duncan Campbell and Testino himself. “Hurrell was always able to find a new point of view and portray them as the best possible version of themselves.”

Legends in Light launches at MATE: Museo Mario Testino, Lima September 17 and runs through December 6.

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Seduced and Abandoned

Ryan Gosling Gives An Entertaining Insight Into the Perils of the Hollywood Audition

“The movie business is like the worst girlfriend you’ve ever had,” declares Alec Baldwin, the veteran actor and star of James Toback’s documentary Seduced and Abandoned. “You are seduced and abandoned over and over again.” The hard-hitting Hollywood director returns to Cannes, where he triumphed in 2008 with his documentary on Mike Tyson, and puts the mechanics of the film festival itself under his microscope. In the wry meta-film, The Glengarry Glen Ross star and Toback work La Croisette Boulevard like the undoubted pros they are in a determined attempt to secure funding for "Last Tango in Tikrit," a sexually explicit allegory about post-Iraq disillusion in which Baldwin would take the lead. “Alec and I acted in a scene together in Woody Allen's Alice,” says Toback. “Our scene was cut from the final version but the irrational sense of connection I felt with him, both as a screen presence and as a person, lingered after our brief Woody experience.” The duo quickly discovers why Somerset Maugham described the Riviera as “a sunny place for shady people” but the impressive list of auteurs and actors they interview––including Martin Scorsese, Ryan Gosling and Francis Ford Coppola––are disarmingly candid. “It’s a celebration of film, not so much of the industry,” says Toback. “I have learned that the more movies I make, the more impossible it is to get excited by any film which is not filled with surprises, uncertainty and the daily need for invention.”

Seduced and Abandoned is released February 17 on Soda Pictures

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On Meditation: Peter Matthiessen

An Intimate Portrait of the Late American Writer and Spirited Adventurer

The explorer, environmentalist and treasured author Peter Matthiessen was the first on filmmaker Rebecca Dreyfus’ wish list to feature in On Meditation, a series of personal shorts exploring the subject alongside other notable deep-thought practitioners including David Lynch. Matthiessen passed away earlier this month, leaving behind the legacy of a large life as a one-time CIA employee turned co-founder of The Paris Review. He will be remembered most as the author of the cherished natural-world travelogue The Snow Leopard, which was awarded two National Book Awards in the US. Below, Dreyfus recollects her time with Matthiessen for NOWNESS.

It’s inspiring to see someone who treated life as a relentless search for new places and ideas, with a general hunger for meaning. Few have lives that include that much adventure. I’ve met a lot of very accomplished people but Peter really lived beautifully.

I don’t think you can separate his life from his writing. He stood up for what he believed in. Whether it was for American-Indian people or animals or his very last novel In Paradise that takes place at a meditation retreat at Auschwitz, he never stopped thinking about the bigger picture.

Peter once said to me: “You can have meaning or you can have rest but you can’t have both.” I’m still trying to figure that out.

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