Who are You, Polly Maggoo?

France 1966. Dir William Klein.

Who are You, Polly Maggoo?, the 1967 winner of the French Prix Jean Vigo, remains a quintessential film by one of the wittiest and most versatile veteran artists and fashion image-makers. A team of TV reporters chronicles the life of the dolly-faced fashion mannequin Polly (Dorothy McGowan) at a climax of her career. In an obsessive quest for Polly’s elusive identity, the filmmakers try to get “under her make-up.” Following Polly’s own musings on who she is, they end up in a frustrated debate about fashion, surface and existence. Particularly inspired are Klein’s outlandish fashion scenes and his understated commentaries on film and filmmaking, best exemplified in a sequence showing media’s manipulation of “raw material” through cunning editing. Highly stylised, sarcastic, hilarious and heart-achingly sharp, Klein’s first full-length feature film offers no moral maxims. In a method truly worthy of fashion, it merely lays the surface out for the viewers to figure out.

Followed by William Klein in conversation with writer and journalist Paul Ryan and film and fashion theorist Pamela Church Gibson.

Ciné Lumière Sunday 14 May 2006, 14:00
The ICA Cinema 1 Saturday 20 May 2006, 16:00