Yesterday the Centre Pompidou held the first screening event of it’s month-long Todd Haynes retrospective. From the 10th-29th of May, 45 years worth of the director’s work will be screened in honor of his life and contribution to cinema before his latest film May December premieres at Cannes later this month. Haynes will be present for the first week of events along with some of his leading ladies for a few select screenings, maybe you’ve heard of them; Natalie Portman, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Cate Blanchett!
Reigning in the week-long trip into the wonderful world of Todd Haynes is a special 35mm screening of Velvet Goldmine. Haynes introduces the film and thanks everyone who made this event and the ones to come possible with tears in his eyes. He says that this retrospective is what he imagines it’s like to watch your life flash before your eyes in slow motion before you die. He recounts the story of a man who figured out where he would need to shoot himself in the head in order to experience conscious dying for the longest amount of time, and he says that this feels sort of like that. Morbid, but he means it in a profoundly beautiful way. He jokes afterwards “I promise I’m not going to blow my brains out with a gun. I’m experiencing my life and my death to the best advantage by seeing this all unfold, and by sharing it here with you.”
Velvet Goldmine is the fictional account of 70’s glam-rockers that still stands as perhaps the most enthralling depiction of post peace-and-love stardom today. Baby-faced Christian Bale is as soft and endearing as ever before, Ewan Mcgreggor is a dead-ringer for the Iggy Pop/Kurt Cobain love child who you never knew you needed to know. Toni Collete is magnetic, hilarious and so so beautiful. The music and costumes are incredible. It’s hard to believe these fictional stars aren’t real.
Please do yourself a favor…paint some glitter on your face and throw on some platforms, turn the volume up to max, and revisit this movie. It’s so fun and so well done. Maybe the most surprising part about rewatching Velvet Goldmine was that this film could have been made today. Makes me wonder when boys will stop being ostracized for wearing eyeliner, and I wish David Bowie was still alive to set the world straight.
After the show I was lucky enough to say hello to Haynes with a friend of mine. She leans in closely and asks what his secret is, to which he simply and humbly responds, “extremely talented actors.” Makes sense.
For more information on the Todd Haynes retrospective please visit https://www.centrepompidou.fr/en/program/calendar/event/pE2bV6f .