Described as a surreal art thriller, Kyle Broom's Tabloid Vivant picked up the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the recent Cinema at the Edge Film Festival hosted by L.A.'s Edgemar Center for the Arts where it screened as the festival's closing night film.
Tabloid Vivant examines the state of the art world in the digital age by focusing on two people - Max (Jesse Woodrow, Charmed, Beyond the Lights) is an artist seduced by the allure of fame. Sara (Tamzin Brown, The Adderall Diaries, Rebel) is an art critic who may be even more obsessed than Max. When Sara lands a high profile gig at a major art magazine, the two end up retreating to a cabin in the woods where Max reveals a strange new painting technique. Convinced it's going to revolutionize the art world, Sara agrees to collaborate with Max on a project and the collaboration goes directions I doubt very seriously you'll ever expect.
Tabloid Vivant is Broom's first feature film, though he's no stranger to kudos as none other than Werner Herzog has praised a previous work as "subversive and highly accomplished."
In case you're wondering, there's a film critic's code that states that whenever you get a chance to quote Herzog you take it. No exceptions.
Now then, before we move on much further it may be worth noting that Tabloid Vivant isn't a film for everyone and I'm pretty damn sure Broom didn't intend it to be. Tabloid Vivant is bold, experimental, occasionally rather jarring, unpredictable, immensely fun, and as thrilling as you're likely hoping it would be. I must confess that the film had the unintended effect of making me think about Johnny Depp and his ex, Vanessa Paradis.
I have no idea why, other than maybe Jesse Woodrow kind of reminded me of a Depp kind of drunken swagger while Brown radiates a sort of high-end artsy vibe meets "I want to be way cooler than I really am" kind of vibe.
Who knows, really? It's film. Sometimes, you just can't explain these things.
Laura Beth Love's lensing is creative and vibrant and occasionally more than a little pretentious. It sort of struck me as high society meets American Psycho, but that's just the way my mind works. It worked quite nicely woven into Beth Gersten's uniquely inspired production design and the effects work of Mike Verta and Marcus Koch.
Jesse Woodrow and Tamzin Brown are outlandish, irritating, bold, brash, obnoxious, fun, more than a little psycho and, well, I suppose that all adds up to either mad artists or fame seeking artists or maybe both. If you have zero tolerance for being irritated at the screen, then Tabloid Vivant may not be for you but given its recent audience award one has to assume that those who go for strong indie voices with artistic integrity will find much to love here.
Tabloid Vivant is still early in its festival run and shouldn't have a hard time finding success on the indie/underground fest circuit. For more information on the film, visit its Facebook page linked to in the credits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic