Bruce Weber’s Chop Suey is a love poem to Peter Johnson, a young Adonis pulled from high school wrestling obscurity and handed model super-stardom. Though his monologue, Weber fascinatingly celebrates an unspoken love affair between photographers and their models. Unabashedly scatterbrained, Chop Suey is best taken in as a series of snapshots from Weber’s past that have informed his photography. He reveals that his icons were Frances Faye and Diane Vreeland, whose dramatic lives and influences on his work are worshipped via archival footage intercut with footage of, um, naked men. Weber may not explicitly call his gaze phallocentric though he does admit that it has something more to do with aesthetics: “It was never about fashion, it was always about pussy.” (Sure, Bruce, whatever you say.) For Weber, the cock is an object of worship here. More fascinating than his relationship to his subjects is the way he hoards his memories—he creates a picture collage on his wall in order to create a sense of past. Weber never really discusses his sexuality or the fetishism and complications gay photographers encounter when casting and working with male models. Weber’s film, though, has love and history to burn. Weber recalls his fascination with a limbless man’s naked form in Chop Suey’s most haunting moment. Though Weber is concerned with more than just fashion photography, it is his Abercrombie & Fitch fantasies that reign supreme here.
- Zeitgeist Films
- 98 min
- Bruce Weber
- Peter Johnson, Jan-Michael Vincent, Diana Vreeland, Robert Mitchum, Herbie Fletcher, Dibi Fletcher, Frances Faye
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