The Tops of Tribeca

One of the nation's premier film festivals doesn't disappoint as being a launching pad for some of the best LGBT films of the coming year.

BY Lawrence Ferber

July 31 2009 11:00 PM ET

Director
Christina Clausen’s The Universe of Keith
Haring
mines the pop artist’s life via an
impressive collection of footage and voices.
It’s not always flattering, especially
Haring’s laughably pretentious, early School of
Visual Arts video performance pieces (in one, a tribute
to his father, he speaks in morse code), while many of
Haring’s surviving friends and family members
expound upon his brief yet prolific existence and
work, including Bill T. Jones, Kenny Scharf, and Fab 5
Freddy. It’s fascinating, and a compulsory
viewing, but Clausen’s attempts to steer clear
of PBS style, through flashy sound effects that punctuate
the talking heads, make it irritatingly MTV-style
instead. And, sadly, while Haring’s close
friend Madonna appears in archival materials -- including
priceless footage of her first public appearance, wearing a
Haring-painted outfit to boot -- no new interview is
included.

There was modern
day Madonna at Tribeca nonetheless, and as with the
music charts, she went head to head with Mariah Carey on the
film lineup. Madge swung by in the flesh (to many a
paparazzi popping) with her Malawi documentary, I
Am Because We All Are
, while Carey played a singer
in the drama, Tennessee.

Tags: film

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