At the start of the year, a film is on everyone’s lips and attracts all eyes. After La La Land, Damien Chazelle is back in the City of Angels and delivers a dazzling gesture of cinema. Babylon is a disproportionate film like the era it recounts, that of the shift, at the end of the 1920s, from silent cinema to talkies. With this grandiose, intoxicating but above all cruel and devastating tableau, the prodigy director says it all of the Hollywood paradox, a formidable dream machine but a ruthless machine for crushing beings. A theme that many writers have already told in trashy works that have become cults. Small library ideal for putting an end to your dreams of cinema.Hollywood Babylone, by Kenneth Anger (Tristram)See also on KonbiniA claimed source of inspiration for Damien Chazelle when writing his film, Hollywood Babylone is today considered a cult book and a monument of the underground, but was for a long time attacked, censored by the authorities and by part of the press because of the sulphurous and scandalous picture that its author painted of the dream machine. Born in 1927, the year of the release of The Jazz Singer, the film that will tip the seventh art into the age of talkies, grandson of a renowned costume designer, Kenneth Anger has been pacing the studios since he was to walk. For years, he rubbed shoulders with the gratin of the first golden age of Hollywood and was the privileged witness of a glorious and depraved era which magnified perversion and vice. Completely crazy director, obsessed fetishist and avowed satanist who will go so far as to tattoo Lucifer on his chest, Kenneth Anger is the symbol of this crazy Hollywood decadence. But, instead of simply embodying it, he decides to tell it as well. book, Hollywood Babylone is a dizzying dive into the darkest recesses and the most abject secrets of the city of angels, between orgies, wildfire and suppressed crimes. For years, Kenneth Anger has carefully collected photos, cut up newspapers, picked up misplaced items and recorded the craziest rumors in order to be able, one day, to unpack everything. Charlie Chaplin’s pronounced taste for very young women, the tragic fate of Marie Prevost, discovered in her apartment half devoured by her dachshund, the unhealthy jealousy of Johnny Weissmuller while his wife walks around with her kitty exposed in the evenings, the beating inflicted by Sean Connery on a former bodyguard of Capone: Hollywood had never been told with such ferocity and we savor this blessed time when the celebrity press was entrusted to the craziest writers. Jerry Stahl (Rivages) If there is a tragic destiny that alone tells the story of the irrational madness of the early hours of the Hollywood industry, it is that of Roscoe Arbuckle. In the early 1920s, this corpulent actor and director nicknamed “Fatty” was one of the biggest stars of silent cinema and the rival of Charlie Chaplin. With ever more outrageous gags – it is to him that we owe the invention cream pie – he made the whole of America laugh his ass by playing the happy troublemaker who had come to shake up a puritanical and corseted country. But everything changes when, the day after a drunken evening in San Francisco, he is charged with the rape and manslaughter of a starlet named Virginia Rappe. This explosive story, the bad boy of American letters Jerry Stahl, former pen sulphurous of the men’s press, screenwriter of Twin Peaks, destroy writer and repentant addict tells it in an incredible novel. It traces the crazy rise of a child from Kansas rejected by his family because of his weight and who will find salvation on the boards, he describes the terrible vices of Hollywood, a dream machine that crushes beings in his path, he above all dismantles one by one the cogs of an odious media and political machination which, in wanting to put an end to the loose morals of this depraved world, sacrificed the career of a genius and the life of an innocent. -to be so wicked that a 120-kilogram Jesus had to die to atone for his sins.”Ecstasy and me, the crazy autobiography of Hedy Lamarr (Séguier)Like the life of Hedy Lamarr, his biography leaves in all the direction and you have to hang on. But how fascinating it is to discover such an unjustly forgotten figure in cinema. Her life is a novel of adventures carried out with a bang by a femme fatale with a strong character who has never been afraid to tell men their four truths. In Ecstasy and me, she dismantles with undisguised pleasure her statue of a Hollywood goddess to tell her story without bluntness and without regret. her role in Ecstasy (1933) and this close-up of a simulated orgasm, the prisoner wife of a rich industrialist, escaped from her gilded prison by drugging a governess, the most beautiful woman in cinema, the only actress capable of negotiating her contracts in person with the terrible Louis B. Mayer, the sex maniac with multiple escapades, even the inventor of Wi-Fi: we travel through the thousand lives of an icon who has always refused to be confined to the status of starlet and simple object of desire.Three Women Disappear, by Hélène Frappat (Actes Sud)In the big family of the seventh art, I would first like the mother, Tippi Hedren. Unforgettable star of the Birds, she was the victim of the morbid obsession of director Alfred Hitchcock who multiplied advances throughout the filming and even went so far as to kiss her by force before doing everything to blacklist her because of her refusal to comply. I would also like the girl, Melanie Griffith, title role of the cult 1980s film Working Girls, object of fantasies with a sulphurous life who was all her life the favorite prey of the American tabloids. Finally, I would like the granddaughter, Dakota Johnson, the embodiment of the greatest soft porn phenomenon of our time, Fifty Shades of Grey, and a sexualized actress since her debut in front of the camera. In the purest tradition of American non-fiction narrative , Hélène Frappat, critic at Cahier du Cinéma, leads the investigation and recounts the chaotic destiny of this line of women shaken by the ruthless Hollywood machine, victims like so many others of misogyny, excessive sexualization and the violence of men. Zéroville by Steve Erickson (Actes Sud) Like Many, the character played brilliantly on screen by Diego Calva, Vikar, the hero of Steve Erickson’s novel is a candid propelled into the great barnum of the film industry, an “autistic cine” passionate about the history of the seventh art who communicates only with quotes from his favorite films and who proudly wears a tattoo of Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift on the back of the skull. He arrives in Los Angeles at the end of the 1960s and discovers a world that is at the antipodes of his cinephile fantasies. From misadventures to misunderstandings, he crosses paths with freaks as odious as they are unforgettable and realizes that Hollywood has become a damned kingdom. . Slowly, he then locks himself in this sweet illusion that rocks him since he was a little boy. Cinema is a world in itself, parallel to the real world, which, at least, deserves to be experienced. like. A cult book, brought to the screen by James Franco three years ago. An actor accused since of harassment, who better than him to symbolize the disenchantment of the dream machine…Babylon is currently in theaters.
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