kottke.org posts about artandcopy

Documentaries about advertising and Vogue at SundanceJan 16 2009

I pulled out a couple of interesting-sounding documentaries from this preview of this year's Sundance Film Festival. The first is Art & Copy, a documentary about advertising that seems well-timed on the heels of Mad Men.

Come to think of it, it's amazing that nobody's made a major documentary about the advertising business before. Are some phenomena just so powerful and ubiquitous we stop thinking about them? Now acclaimed doc-maker Doug Pray goes inside the ever-revolutionary world of post-'60s advertising, profiling such legendary figures as [Dan] Wieden ("Just do it"), Hal Riney ("It's morning in America") and Cliff Freeman ("Where's the beef?") and inquiring where the boundaries lie between art, salesmanship and brainwashing.

Somewhat related to that is The September Issue, which follows the creation of Vogue magazine's September issue. You know, the one packed with hundreds of pages of advertising.

You-are-there documentarian R.J. Cutler ("The War Room," etc.) takes us inside the creation of Vogue's annual and enormous September issue, which possesses quasi-biblical status in the fashion world. Granted full access to editorial meetings, photo shoots and Fashion Week events by Vogue editor Anna Wintour, Cutler spent nine months at Vogue, documenting a monumental process that more closely resembles a political campaign or a sports team's season than the publication of a single magazine.

And while not a documentary, there's excitement and trepidation surrounding John Krasinski's Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, a adaptation of a book by the same name by David Foster Wallace.

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