HBO Max viewers were glued to the camera this Monday on Idol with Lily-Rose Depp. It’s Jocelyn, a music star who wants to return to the limelight after health problems. She wears only a robe that barely covers her nipples and wears bracelets from her previous psychiatric admission. “Mental illness is sexy,” says one of those around her. The photographer asks her to cry, to laugh, to be innocent, to be mischievous, to have pure sex. The character is an artist who bows to the demands of the industry. It is sexually and willingly exposed to sell itself to the public.
The maneuver appeared to be effective with a five-minute ovation at Cannes. “Being at the Cannes Film Festival has been my life’s dream,” said a clearly emotional Sam Levinson, who co-created the series with singer Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd. The idea came from a conversation between them: Tesfaye told him that if he wanted to, he could found a cult for his popularity. Thus he conceived the story of a singer who fell into the jaws of a guru with the aura of Charles Manson. Sharon Tate is also mentioned in the pilot. However, hours after the show, the spell was broken: the first critics glossed over the work.
The series received a five-minute ovation at the Cannes Film Festival, but at first critics glossed over the work
This was a situation that could be seen since March when Rolling Stone published a report on the filming of The Idol. Amy Seimetz, the director, was fired from the project for focusing too much on the “female point of view”, a decision that upset Tesfaye. Levinson took over the directing reins and finished the footage shot by Seimetz. In a time of support for the female gaze in Hollywood, the maneuver was read as misogynistic. And, later, speculation about the contents of the narrative triggered by leaks by team members gave rise to a new genre of cultural analysis: pre-criticism.
It was condemned as Idol denounced the sexualization of women in the entertainment industry at the same time that Levinson and Tesfaye found new ways to exploit and harass Depp in scenes defined as “torture porn”. The articles seemed to be conditioned by the climate of opinion surrounding Levinson, the chaotic filming of Euphoria, and the fact that actresses questioned the amount of nudity in the scripts.
A Rolling Stone report reveals ‘ex-critics’ of ‘The Idol’: Opposing opinions on work’s content based on team leaks
With the presence of ex-critics before the reviews, Murthy has put on the table the extent to which creative outcome can be as important as the cultural and social framework in which a work is received. Critics, in fact, haven’t seen beyond the first two episodes and the public, at the moment, has only 50 minutes of footage to form their opinion, comparing the series with Brian De Palma, Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls and Fifty. grey.