Blonde: Will a new shocking movie break the legend of Marilyn Monroe? | Movies

Nearly 60 years after her death, the entertainment industry’s attempts to resurrect Marilyn Monroe continue apace. Earlier this week, a 1964 Andy Warhol silkscreen painting sold at auction for $195 million — the highest amount ever paid for a work of art from the 20th century.

The week before, Kim Kardashian attended the Met Gala in New York in a $4.8 million crystal-encrusted nude silk gown that Monroe wore to the John F Kennedy gala at his 45th birthday party.

It was considered an honor less than a success. While Warhol’s immortalization of the actress in blue-and-pink pop art helped seal her image for the next half-century, the reality TV star dressed as a dead woman in emulation waned less. Details of the extreme diet Kardashian vowed to squeeze into the dress sits comfortably with Monroe charm. The revelation that she requested a white steal because she couldn’t manage the zipper called off the effect.

Appropriate honor?  ... Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala.
Appropriate honor? … Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala. Photography: John Nasion/NoorPhoto/Rex/Shutterstock

On Thursday, the International Council of Museums threw in its weight, strongly stating that “historic clothing should not be worn by anyone, whether public or private figures”. While the dress was the property of a private collector – Ripley’s Believe it or Not! They added that its heritage “must be understood as belonging to humanity” and that the artefacts were “preserved for future generations”.

The outfit the actor wears to sing Happy Birthday to the Magna Carta should be a testament to the seriousness, as well as the fever, that Monroe still holds in the cultural imagination.

It is not only Hollywood that claims to be a figure of major historical interest. A decade ago, a black and white shot of Monroe was chosen as the poster for the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, which described her as “an eternal icon whose grace, mystery and power of seduction remain contemporary…the festival is a temple of glamor and Marilyn is her complete incarnation.”

This year’s Cannes festival kicks off on Tuesday, and many people expected Monroe to be the de-facto star again. Festival director Thierry Frémaux had “loved” the film Blonde, a new autobiography of the star, and wanted to play on Croisette. Its manager, Andrew Dominic, was happy to accept that.

However, Netflix, the company behind the film, wasn’t that enthralled. Long-running feuds between the festival and the streaming giant have led to the Frémaux team now imposing strict conditions on films shown in competition: they must open in French cinemas and not be shown online for another 18 months.

Netflix declined and offered an eight-month settlement in theaters only, which Frémaux reportedly turned down. An out-of-competition spot wasn’t alluring enough for Netflix, whose prize ambitions were not entirely dented by the successes of films like Roma, Wedding Story and The Power of the Dog.

It now seems likely that a blonde would instead appear at the Venice Film Festival in late August – where similar titles were shown as Pablo Larraine’s Princess Diana biopic Spencer and Jackie, his film about JFK’s widow.

Marilyn was sold by Warhol for $195 million this week.
Marilyn was sold by Warhol for $195 million this week. Photography: John Angelo/UPI/Rex/Shutterstock

However, a prequel in the film indicates that it may have been cut from a less loosened canvas. While Lareen’s films were experimental in style and unwavering in their depiction of women’s internal struggles, they remained primarily revered. Dominic’s film is said to be brutal and revolutionary.

“There is something that offends everyone,” the filmmaker said this week in response to the US Classification Board’s decision to award him an NC-17 certification, significantly limiting his commercial prospects.

Dominic, whose previous work includes Australian crime thriller Chopper and Jesse James Western starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck, has remained upbeat in his defense of his film. “It’s a demanding movie,” he said. “If the public doesn’t like it, that’s the damn public’s problem. It’s not running for public office.”

“I want to go and see the NC-17 version of the Marilyn Monroe story.”

Although rumors of a scene showing a bloody lick during her period were not confirmed, rape was included. Joyce Carol Oates, whose 2010 book is based on a rough clip of the film, praised it as “amazing, fascinating, deeply disturbing and, perhaps most surprisingly, a wholly ‘feminist’ interpretation…I’m not sure any male director has achieved any nothing at all. [like] This is amazing.”

The film, which follows Monroe from her troubled childhood until her death from a barbiturate overdose at age 36, has been a passion project for Dominic since Oates’ book was published 12 years ago. Actress Knives Out Ana de Armas plays the title role – succeeding Jessica Chastain, who succeeded Naomi Watts.

An ambitious blonde... Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe.
Blonde ambition… Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe. Photo: Netflix

Dominic credited the #MeToo movement with enabling him to produce the movie Criticizing American Sacred Cows. Before that, he said, “No one was interested in that kind of nonsense—what an unloved girl looks like, or what it’s like to go through a Hollywood meat grinder.”

Other early viewers of the film were impressed. Jamie Lee Curtis, who co-stars with De Armas in Knives Out and whose father, Tony Curtis, appears as a character in the film, said, “I fell on the floor. I couldn’t believe it. Anna was completely gone. It was Marilyn.”

The version of Monroe faced by the blonde masses is likely to be difficult and familiar. How great an appetite to take a drastic turn for these more totem sex symbols remains to be seen.

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