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Mme. Hermine, January 10, 2013
Posted January 10, 2013
Allegra Kent appears in the trailer here:
Posted January 11, 2013
That is amazing. Everything you ever wanted to know about Bert Stern and Allegra Kent in 2 minutes. (But I do want to see the full film.) He does seem totally mad, though.
How many documentaries about an artist allow the abused ex-wife to have her say. A "mad man" indeed.
Associating an extreme lack of equilibrium with craziness, some view artistic production as part of an ongoing effort of the artist to bring himself into better equilibrium by putting something from within himself into his surroundings, so that art and craziness are often - usually - found together. Make sense? No? Okay, enough of that.
Just a footnote, then, about Bert Stern, the reason I'm joining in: Apparently, he was responsible for the stunning mid-sixties film of Don Quixote - I mean Balanchine's Don Quixote - with Farrell and Balanchine and an astonishing (by today's standards) New York City Ballet, a film worth remembering, not because the making of it or of anything else he did tends to exonerate its maker's bad behavior toward his wife - Allegra Kent, for God's sake! I was glad to learn from this she grabbed the kids and ran, having heard worse about other artists' victims - but because of the experience it can provide people like us when we have the chance to see it. So, thanks for the notice. (Okay, a long "footnote.")
What Stern did as an artist did not exonorate anything he did to his wife and children. It's just an example of "W[he] was good, [he] was very, very good, and when [he] was bad, [he] was horrid."
We've had many conversations on this website about what it means when an artist makes wonderful work, and yet behaves miserably.
Do you think Diaghilev caused, spark, incited, encouraged, or enflamed Nijinsky's madness, or was Nijinsky initially mad, or predisposed to madness?
Helene says Stern's artistry (which the trailer alone demonstrates, magnificently) does not "exonerate" his wife abuse (a specific topic about which I lack complete familiarity). In line with our discussion of the Willis, collective culpability, judgment, as well as appropriate punishment in light of manslaughter, negligence, intentional conduct, and mens rea, what was Stern's alleged crime, what was the degree of Stern's legal culpability for his crime (his mental state, his intentions, his defenses [justification, self-defense, provocation, lack of intent], and the consequences), and what is the appropriate punishment. Also, by making the film, can one conclude that he does or does not seek "exoneration"?
We have read much about Picasso. What is his just punishment? Do his abuses eliminate his value as an artist? Or as a human being?
Are me making a judgment about human nature in general?