On 04, Mar 2014 | In | By Jan Tenhaven
Original title: SCHÖN KANN JEDER
52 / 43 min | WDR / ARTE | Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion | 2014 | Full crew list
Documentary about Del the world‘s ugliest photo model and his Misfit Models agency. What is pretty, what is ugly?
In the age of photoshop, the pressure on the ugly, wrinkled and pigeon-breasted has never been so great. But Del Keens, a self-confessed gargoyle and welfare-dependant, is here to turn the tables. After being scouted by an advertising photographer and fronting major campaigns by Levi’s and Calvin Klein, he’s forming his own modelling agency – good-lookers need not apply. But is this a liberating counter concept? Or simply coquetry to reaffirm our ideal of beauty?
“Try to go in a pin-up pose”, a photographer calls out to a balding, pot-bellied man wearing nothing but black spandex hotpants and an absurd gold boob-tube. “No, your bum looks great”, another is reassured. They are posing for the camera not – as might be expected – in some cheaply fabricated BDSM dungeon, but in a professional studio, on a professional shoot, as professional models.
Del started up his new ‘ugly’ model agency with high hopes that the advertising industry is ready to rethink its emphasis on wall-to-wall beauty.“You either stay at home and hide, or you come out of your shell and say, ‘Look at me, world!’, like I have.” With 150 hopefuls already on the books, Del is optimistic that there will be more work to come. With a healthy dose of self-effacing humour, he leads us through a cosmos of imperfection, ill-proportion, and irregularity. “My biggest dream is to find someone as bad-looking as me. But that’s going to be a tall order.”As we watch Del bolster his fledglings’ confidence, another question looms.
Are Del and his companions a serious movement towards greater authenticity? Or simply a variety act? “If I wanted a freak show, I’d call it ‘freak show’. And as the agency gets going there’s no shortage of imperfect applicants but the work is not flooding in. Is the world really ready to turn the tables on the Photoshop look – or will Del’s models only ever in fact be in demand for occasional gimmickry – when some creative wants to make fun of an ugly person? Entertaining and thought provoking.
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