Died Young, Stayed Pretty
Movie Review - Died Young, Stayed Pretty - Rock Steady - NYTimes.comEileen Yaghoobian
“Died Young, Stayed Pretty” considers a subculture acutely aware of its own obsolescence: artists committed to the design, hand printing and stapled-to-a-telephone-pole distribution of rock posters. They are, by and large, an odd bunch, predictably geeky in their enthusiasms (“Star Trek” action figures, 1970s pornography) and resigned to their marginalization in a culture where the cutting edge of marketing — and music — has mostly gone digital.
The old-school rock-poster scene thrives on an ethos of authenticity and embraces its outsider status. This leads to some naïve political talk, a lot of nostalgia and numerous sexually graphic designs featuring Elvis, Jesus and assorted Republicans.
The filmmaker, Eileen Yaghoobian, explores the culture through a sort of kaleidoscopic ethnography. Unstructured and free-associative, cutting among interviews and images at breakneck speed to no discernible narrative or thematic purpose, the documentary is mercurial to the point of incoherence.
Context is for squares: “Died Young, Stayed Pretty” couldn’t care less about the precedents of the rock-poster underground or even, strangely, the music or bands the posters promote. Mostly it hangs out with the dudes (they’re almost all dudes) in cluttered studios, cheap restaurants, bowling alleys and dive bars as they mumble and muse about their beloved niche.
DIED YOUNG, STAYED PRETTY
Opens on Friday in Manhattan.
Produced, directed and edited by Eileen Yaghoobian; director of photography, Ms. Yaghoobian; music by Mark Greenberg; released by Norotomo Productions Inc. At the IFC Center, 323 Avenue of the Americas, at Third Street, Greenwich Village. Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes. This film is not rated.
This is a more complete version of the story than the one that appeared in print.