The Feature

The Feature

1.5 out of 51.5 out of 51.5 out of 51.5 out of 5 1.5

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Its opening title “This narrative is not a true account” ultimately proven moot, The Feature suggests that either video artist Michel Auder culled the wrong footage from a lifetime of compulsive camera-wielding for this “fictional autobiography,” or was saddled by fate or egoism with an inapt subject. Augmented by admittedly handsome HD metafictional scenes, beginning with the diagnosis of an aggressive brain tumor, archival footage from Auder’s thoroughly entwined life and career—his marriages to Warhol superstar Viva and photographer Cindy Sherman, the destruction of his film Cleopatra by its producers, his decades-long heroin use, and self-reinvention as a Lower East Side videographer in the ‘70s and ‘80s—is accompanied by his enervating third-person narration, seldom blatantly self-glorifying, but flatly obtuse.

Auder and co-director Andrew Neel’s stagey set pieces such as rifle-toting conceptualist Auder firing dozens of rounds into a car until it erupts in flames, and mounting a female visitor for a friendly fuck, can’t match the voyeuristic appeal of 30-year-old black-and-white scenes of Viva arguing (in front of their toddler daughter) with Michel over his junk habit, trivial frolics with collaborators Warhol and Larry Rivers, or clips of Auder’s vintage work featuring the far more magnetic Eric Bogosian (playing a LES junkie proxy for the director) and Factory screwball Taylor Mead, first seen as a priest menaced by a dildo, then in a 21st-century stage rant about the death of downtown New York. By the final shot of Auder laying down to await his demise, three hours after we meet his young Byronic self, one wishes he’d trusted the maxim that art is autobiography, and left more of his intimate effluvia out of The Feature.

Runtime
174 min
Rating
NR
Year
2008
Director
Michel Auder, Andrew Neel
Screenwriter
Michel Auder, Luke Meyer, Andrew Neel
Cast
Michel Auder, Viva, Cindy Sherman, Larry Rivers, Eric Bogosian, Taylor Mead