Art School Confidential - A Treat to Watch
'I want to be the next Picasso' the broad stroke ambition of Jerome Platz, opens the screen of the movie 'Art School Confidential' and by assembling almost all the genre of romance, comedy and drama makes the movie a satirist experience of Brooklyn's elite Strathmore Art Institute. Satirist, because the movie is based on an 'Alternative Comic' series by Daniel Clowes (one of the most famous underground comic creators in America) and directed by Terry Zwigoff, with heavy influence by its genre of indie-pop culture. Jerome platz, the central character is a dedicated art fan inspired by Picasso, wants to become the greatest artist of the 21st century which will eventually bring him fame and fortune. And there are weirdo classmates, self-absorbed professors, a beautiful art model, a burnt-out artist, a serial killer, the undercover police, almost all the ingredients of an 'Underground Comix' for its humors, agony & excitements.
'Underground Comix' spurred in the USA during the late 60's, as a new wave of humored, hippie-inspired self published comic books that dealt social and political issues with its strong satirical cartoon characters. It was probably a protest of artists when the US Govt. imposed the 'Comics Code' which those underground artists took as crusade against their expression. It was how those artists struggled to liberate their expressions pushing the boundaries of satire and thru mocking the establishment. In the movie 'Art School Confidential' we discover the same struggle of art versus commercialization where Jerome gets disillusioned by the pretentious wannabe's and all other fame craved peoples around him.
The story expands through a series of sequences where Jerome gets convicted for being over experimental, encounter romance, confused & frustrated by the creepy professors, getting detained by the under-cover polices and with a radical change of getting famous. The first day at the drawing class the fresh students gets warned by their Prof Sandiford 'Remember, only one out of one hundred of you will ever make a living as an artist' and then everyone gets started to rush for becoming that 'One'.
Jerome (Max Minghella) , who was already an exceptional drafts man, started getting convicted every single time by his classmates and Profs but also generating affection in the heart of the beautiful art model Audrey (Sophia Miles). While struggling for his paintings deserved acclaim, Jerome fell in love with Audrey the daughter of a big name artist. He was thrilled that his talent has brought him the heart of a beautiful girl. Eventually the movie drops its humorous tone. Jerome gets continuously shunted from his spirits, his believes in the world of art and humanity 'Humans are bunch of jerks. I would wipe off humanity from the entire face of the earth.' And then, the secret police falls after him because of the serial killer which already claimed several co-ed victims.
The movie reaches to a high intensity when Audrey turns her back on Jerome and shifts her attention to hunky Jonnah (the secret police). To win her back, Jerome went see the drunk and old artist Jimmy who lives in 'the narcotic moment of creative bliss'. When the ultimate cynicism, despair and anger made Jerome feel like at the end of the line, he got caught by the secret police as a suspect for that serial killer. And yes, Jerome became famous. Since he was detained, his paintings become premium pieces of art selling at top dollars. His film maker room-mate eventually came out with a movie 'The Roommate, The Killer' and the university gallery manager wants Jerome inside the jail as long as possible so that his paintings will earn good money.
Art School Confidential is an enjoyable coming of the age movie. Of course, it sharply criticizes the painful creative experiences and questions the process of making an artist. And the way this satire movie played around an art campus with all the underground-pop culture ingredients definitely deserve an 'A' grade.