We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
If it is true, as Jean-Luc Godard once said, that "cinema history is the history of boys photographing girls," then one task of movie historians should be to find out what happened to the girls in the process. Mark Rappaport, who uses the Godard quote in his new film "From the Journals of Jean Seberg," takes it to heart in a unique way. He presents Seberg as the narrator of her own life.
Seberg died in 1979, hounded to suicide by the FBI, which planted poisonous items about her in a gossip column. Since she was not available to play herself, Rappaport uses the actress Mary Beth Hurt (who looks a little like Seberg might have) to play her. And the movie's narration is all spoken by "Seberg," in the first person.
Some of it may be based on things she said or thought. Most of it, incon women in the movies, politics, and her fellow actresses, is invention. Rappaport's mixture of fact and fiction is more audacious than Oliver Stone's "Nixon" - but the movie makes it perfectly clear that it is using both history and imagination, and the result is a tough, intelligent look at the grueling job of being one of those girls photographed by the boys.
Seberg's was a life that had a storybook beginning and a tragic ending. She was a 17-year-old "unknown" - that wonderful Hollywood word for anyone not a movie star! - when Otto Preminger found her in Iowa and cast her in his 1957 film "Saint Joan." She received merciless reviews, but Preminger, determined to be proved right in his choice, starred her again in "Bonjour Tristesse" (1959).