The Sartorialist’s “Digital Park Bench”

Who doesn’t love The Sartorialist? Even though he posts pics from hig globabl travels, Scott Schuman’s site makes New York seem edgy and interesting in the way magazines used to.

But the reason I’m sharing the video below relates to its sponsor, Intel. I’ve written before about my mixed feelings concerning this awkward stepchild of documentary film and commerce (“Culture Is a Weird Online Video“). Yes, yes, marketing departments the world over have provided licensing cash for bands struggling otherwise to navigate the changing media landscape. But short films like the one below strike me as insidious.

On the surface, everything’s great. A look behind the scenes of a famous photographer! (He gets his haircut at FSC, just like me!)

And yet, what do we learn? Nothing. How “deep” can this short film really go when its financing comes from a computer corporation? There’s an invisible set of standards enforced by populist appeal that you won’t find in self-financed docs (see La Blogotheque). People often cite Don’t Look Back as a seminal cinematic portrait of an artist, partially due to D.A. Pennebaker’s warts-and-all showcase of Dylan’s (un?)intentional asshole persona. I don’t believe you’ll ever discover similar rawness or truth in these sponsored works.

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