Sundance Festival debuts with Earthquake in documentary form. a priori it was other titles that made headlines, but the launch of Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields, The two-part film, produced by the Hulu platform and starring actress Brooke Shields, left everyone speechless. It is the actress who tells her story, and it is she who reveals for the first time in the second episode how she was raped when she was barely 20, by someone from the industry.
The actress did not reveal her name, but she recounts how at a time when work had stopped coming, a man offered her dinner to discuss a project. When he finished, he asked her to walk with him to the hotel and he would ask her for a taxi. Into the room, after a few minutes, he came in naked and pounced on her. He describes the scene as “wrestling”. Shields tearfully explains the thoughts running through his mind. How he thought of running away and shouting, but for fear of drowning, he decided not to resist. “I completely froze. All I thought was ‘Stay alive and get out of there’. And I go silent,” he adds in the documentary. Only his trusted man and bodyguard Gavin de Becker knew about it. It was he who told her that it was rape, but she kept denying herself. She also wrote a letter to her attacker which was never answered.
He felt guilty for a long time. “She told me ‘I shouldn’t have had a drink at dinner, I shouldn’t have gone to the room'”, but at one point she decided that was enough and part of her way of dealing with it was to tell her about it. in. “I just put my hand up and said, ‘I refuse to be a victim because it’s something that happens no matter who you are and it doesn’t matter whether you’re prepared or not.’ I wanted to erase everything from my mind and body. The system never came to my aid, so I had to be strong,” she adds.
Shields’ testimony is a slap in the face, a sampling of all the abuse women face in an industry dominated by rape culture. It’s her words that elevate this work directed by Lana Wilson, who also made the Netflix documentary Taylor Swift, Miss Americana, Here she revisits the career of the actress, along with sociologists, feminists and friends like Laura Lynne and Drew Barrymore, when she became popular at age 11. Her relationship with her mother, who was also her agent, and a life marked by her addiction to alcohol, meant that a young Shields had to become a mother very early on. She was the breadwinner for her family, and worked to give her the best life she could.
beautiful baby Shows the sexual exploitation of the film, television and advertising industry when she was a child. The documentary takes as its title a film by Louis Malle, who stripped naked at the age of 11 for his film, where she gave the life of a prostitute in 1917 New Orleans. Without kissing a boy her own age, she had to do so on the lips of Keith Carradine, who was 16 years her senior and who was about 30 at the time. Her image has since been used as a commercial claim. Sexualization of minors as a brand image.
same happened to me Blue Lake, Legendary film where two youths get lost on a paradise island. The 15-year-old actress walked around naked for most of the footage and had sex scenes that were used as tactics. Marketing, Shields recalls that the film, directed by Randall Kleiser, was sold as her own sexual awakening. He tells all this now, at the age of 57 and with maturity, after reflecting and understanding what is happening. Her story is complemented by feminists who point out how the sexualization of minors was a patriarchal response to second wave feminism. If you don’t have us, we will go after your daughters, the message was sent.
In the documentary, a name that has been repeated in recent months, that of Franco Zeffirelli, comes up. The director was recently accused of pressurizing and misleading the actors in his version Romeo and Juliet in 1968 so that they roam naked even though they are minors. Now, Shields remembers the torture she shot for Zeffirelli endless Love where she is asked to fake an orgasm and for this the Italian director comes straight to chastise her because he was not satisfied with an actress’s face, as she confesses in the film, she did not know what an orgasm was. .
The peak of her sexualization by the industry came in some Calvin Klein advertisements, which featured her, at age 16, in images that were heavily criticized and led to a 300% increase in sales of the brand’s jeans. But even when Shields put her career on hold to attend college, the gossip about her sex life didn’t stop. Upon his return, his mother convinced him to write a book in which he did not even write four lines. Her own virginity was talked about, and Shields wanted to convey a message that young women should not do anything under pressure if they don’t feel ready. It was used by conservatives to sell abstinence and attacked by those who believed it to be a sexual myth which they now dismiss as ‘stuffy’. As if that wasn’t enough, she faced a lawsuit to prevent the author of some of her artistic photographs from being sold to the press for commercial purposes when she was 9 years old. He lost and watched as his image was sold to the highest bidder.
The university was necessary for him. She separated from her mother, and for the first time she felt she was thinking for herself, something she began to put into practice. This was almost the beginning of a rebellion that was not liked in the industry. At one point in the documentary, Shields says, “An actress thinking for herself was not what Hollywood wanted.”
A film that ends with a bittersweet glimpse of the future. On an optimistic side, given how Shields talks to her daughters about being victimized as a child, they are clear that this should never have happened. They are the vanguard of feminism in new generations. On the other hand, the actress herself reflects on social networks and how they continue to sell an unattainable and unfair beauty canon and how many publications continue to sexually exploit minors. Hopefully your testimony will change something.