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Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
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Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel
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Directing: B+
Writing: B+
Cinematography: B+
Editing: A-



Well, I finished watching the documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, and one vital question remained unanswered: is it "Die-ana" or "Dee-ana"? It seemed to depend on who was talking. I don't think the movie ever shows Diana pronouncing it herself. The only thing we know for sure is the emphasis is on the middle syllable.

And Diana Vreeland's emphasis is on not being boring. Her children, now looking pretty elderly themselves, are interviewed in this movie, and one of them notes that she wanted them to be either at the top of their class or at the bottom -- she didn't care which, so long as they were exceptional in some way. Her disdain was reserved for anyone occupying middle ground.

Curiously, very little is shown about her personal and family life. She does make it pretty clear in the many old interview clips that it's not something she's particularly interested in talking about. This comes across as less because she was private than because she simply found her work in fashion more interesting.

One of the ways I go against type as a gay man is my pretty complete lack of concern or interest in fashion. So why bother watching a documentary about a fashion pioneer? I had never even heard of this woman until I saw trailers to this movie, after all. The answer is simple: Diana Vreeland was a fascinating, dynamic woman, and any documentary about her would have been of interest regardless of the profession she chose.

I suppose that could also be the answer to the question "Why now?" in relation to this movie being made to begin with. Vreeland has been dead for 23 years. Outside the fashion world, I doubt many people today have a clue who she is. If this film is any indication, within the fashion world her legacy lives on. This woman became a celebrity among celebrities, and on the exclusive strength of her ideas. It certainly wasn't her looks -- or her youth; this woman seems to have hit her stride and made her mark in middle age. She was notorious as a senior citizen.

Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt and Frédéric Tcheng, who both co-directed and co-edited, paint a beautiful picture of this woman, using transcripts from a biographer interview, a surprisingly large collection of archival footage, and fun fashion layout-inspired graphics and cinematography. Vreeland had a true joy for living the life she led, specifically in fashion, and in shines through in every clip of her. It rings loudly just through her voice and the way she talks.

There's something oddly infectious about watching this woman, regardless of her single-mindedness, and even somewhat bad reputation as someone to work for. In a way, she seems to have been a predecessor to Steve Jobs, but in a different industry. This woman simply had a different way of looking at things, and although she could be rude, she was so creative and brilliant that people around her couldn't help but love and adore her. Hell, I just met her in this movie and I love her.

So believe me, you need not have any knowledge or interest in fashion to enjoy this movie. It's Diana Vreeland's drive alone that propels the narrative. It's the makings of an unusually entertaining documentary. There is historical significance here, and you learn some things, but those aren't the reasons to watch. There's one reason only: Vreeland herself. She was one of a kind, and even more than two decades after her death, she commands attention.

It's an unconventional ocular journey in DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL.


Overall: B+
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Comments
tommy50702 From: tommy50702 Date: December 18th, 2014 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Very good story telling.
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