stardom (2000)

director: denys arcand

jessica pare, dan aykroyd, frank langella, robert lepage

Basically a film about how beauty makes people do stupid things, Denys Arcandís Stardom explores a stupid culture that adores beauty, without being able to tell you why.

Tina, a Cornwall girlís hockey star, becomes a supermodel when the voracious fashion industry manages to extend its tentacles as far as her teamís semifinals. Her rise and fall, and the utter ruin of the many men and women who become attracted to her, is the subject of the film that ensues, told by Arcand using the glaringly tacky, glib, hysterical or coolly superficial styles of modern media.

As Tina, Jessica Pare is both beautiful and full of the brazen, stubborn nonchalance that allows young girls to survive in an industry that worships them and throws them away. Arcandís satire, while hardly biting and deadly, is still acute, but without the self-righteousness that might have made the film insufferable. Tina might find herself being used by world-class vultures, but sheís enjoying herself, as are the gibbering hangers-on who make a living from celebrity, and the millions of celebrity addicts who obsess over girls like Tina.

A film that will probably be a dated cultural relic one day, but like most good satire, it delivers with a satisfyingly nasty edge while you watch it roll past.