Mademoiselle C Review

Film Still
  • Mademoiselle C  film still


Less a documentary, more a tie-in media package on the publishing endeavours of Mademoiselle Carine Roitfeld.

Dear lord. As a journalist, this is an extremely difficult film to write about with even a modicum of genuine objectivity. It's a film which treats its audience like beggars wallowing in the gutter. Or, we are the harried office stooge working a seventh late shift in a row while the carefree middle-managers in the adjoining pod bounce to Eurodisco hits and splash chilled fountains of Cristal over one another. They glance at us for a moment, the look in their eyes reminding us of the scum that we are.

Mademoiselle C is Carine Roitfeld, extrovert ex-editor of Vogue Paris who, in a personal search for new and exciting creative challenges (and to pitch herself as a celebrity), decided to pack that all in and start a new style bible. A championship narcissist who attains orgasmic delight from the attention of the camera, Roitfeld rides her own publishing industry coattails and decides to make herself the subject of this new magazine venture, which she names CR.

Eschewing any kind of probing analysis or tough moral questioning, Fabien Constant's auto-fellating puff cloud captures the flash-bulb razzle-dazzle of Roitfeld's world, which appears to consist of hanging around for no reason in soulless modernist "spaces" with her pals, being needlessly pernickety on the set of her gaudy fashion shoots, and sycophantically camera-phoning (real) celebrities at parties like some braying, dizzy-headed off-season holiday rep. The film's best shot is when Roitfeld sidles up to Kanye West at a fashion show and attempts to engage him in conversation. He smiles uncomfortably, and with the silent power of his eyes is clearly attempting to chide his security guards for not bundling this mad lady into a lift.

While the artistic value of Roitfeld's shoots can only really be judged on an subjective basis, what's so galling is the fact that her staff appear to be entirely divorced from the realities of modern journalistic endeavour. Multi-million dollar budgets are maxed-out within moments, and the blow-back of hefty over-spends results in a cheeky roll of the eyes, a shrug, and a dismissive giggle… Money fight! This truly is the last days of Rome as seen through the coke-encrusted spy-hole of the publishing industry, with self-congratulatory media nodes playing Rolodex bingo in hotpants and lighting designer stogies with soiled twenties to a soundtrack of moans, screams and whiplashes emanating from just down the corridor.

Obviously not all documentary films can be expected to attain Frederick Wiseman-levels of patient objectivity, but Mademoiselle C is a work which operates better as a piece of tie-in advertising that was part of an over-arching media strategy than an informative document of the creative process. This may read like we simply resent Ms Roitfeld's talent and fortunes, and in a sense we do. But if you chose to build a shrine of yourself, at least make it resistant to the volleys of rotten fruit.

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