The First Monday in May (2016)
Critic Consensus: First Monday in May may not resonate far beyond its target demographic, but for fashion aficionados, it should prove utterly absorbing.
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Critic Reviews for The First Monday in May
Fashion is all about brushing over things; about wondering at the beautiful exterior while refusing to confront the myriad complexities -- and at times ugliness -- that lies beneath
I am always a sucker for the eye-gasm of a fashion documentary.
Maybe this needed someone like Tom Wolfe to anatomise the proceedings fully.
The kind of party you'll almost definitely never get an invite to.
Audience Reviews for The First Monday in May
A less than pretty backstory of the annual Met Gala, which raises millions for the Metropolitan Museum and is led by the Met and by Vogue magazine via its New York editor, Anna Wintour. This one was themed around haute couture fashions inspired by western movie images of pre-communist China. There are plenty of derogatory attitudes filmed, including the stunning idea that there is no modern culture in China, and some breathtaking lack of elementary history or politics, let alone diplomacy. There are insults, in front of a live camera, towards key Chinese partners, or as soon as backs are turned. The key phrase on the Gala night is "two cultures" at which, if the shoe were on the other foot and the Chinese had done a similarly limited show, Americans would have taken offence. Elsewhere, the film covers inadequately the controversy around Galliano, who is interviewed. In a sexist pun, Anna Wintour gets dubbed "dragon lady", a caricature of powerful Chinese women, when her management decisions seem reasonable enough. The red carpet could resemble a pseudo-Chinese fancy dress parade. If you are against modern China, or you can simply ignore behaviour that wouldn't be tolerated at your job, in your class, or among your friends, then you might approach this piece as a celeb mag on wheels. You see the Gala exhibition; you see inside the St Laurent vault in Paris where the Mondrian is pulled out, and inside Wintour's home; Gaultier and Lagerfeld are interviewed; top Met officials insist that the eclectic exhibits not turn the Museum into an amusement park, or just wallpaper for the dresses. And there are wall-to-wall celebs throughout. Was the film intended as an exposé? It seems not. You really are supposed to be in awe. But perhaps its value lies in the fact that it didn't fully ken what it was revealing.
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