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Film / High Art

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High Art is a 1998 film directed by Lisa Cholodenko. It follows the brief relationship between Lucy Berliner (Ally Sheedy), an art photographer, and Syd (Radha Mitchell), an editor at a photography magazine. Though each of them already has a lover, Lucy and Syd are inexorably drawn to each other.

This film provides examples of:

  • Alter Kocker: Lucy's mom. Justified in that she is a Holocaust survivor who grew up in Germany.
  • Bury Your Gays: Lucy.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: James, who suffers in silence—up to a point.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Averted with most of the tertiary characters; played straight with Lucy and Greta.
  • Functional Addict: Lucy, until she's not. Subverted by Greta, who is definitely no longer functional.
  • Kissing Under the Influence: Between Lucy and Syd, and Syd and James.
  • Love Triangle: Among Lucy, Syd, James and Greta.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Lucy Berliner is usually assumed to be a stand-in for Nan Goldin, a real-life bisexual Jewish photographer.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Syd gives one to James after he makes one too many snide comments about Lucy and her friends.
  • Smoking Is Cool: In this movie, the more "artistic" the character, the more likely that character is to smoke tobacco, do heroin or both.
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  • Watch It Stoned: Lucy wants Syd to shoot up with her the first time they have sex.