VIFF Film & Television Trade Forum
On Tuesday, October 10, 2006, Lauren Greenfield’s “Thin” premiered at the Granville 7 proving once again that the Vancouver International Film Festival is a celebration of intelligent cinema. Gaalen Engen of “Fellini is King!” attended the performance and had this to say…
Lauren Greenfield is a celebrated chronicler of youth culture in the photography world. It is her critically acclaimed book Girl Culture that provided the seed for her cinematic debut. Girl Culture explored, amongst other things, the concept of the modern-day-girl being defined mostly on the appearance of her body and what impact that has on growing up in today’s society. In her work for the book, Lauren encounters and tackles the problems associated with unrealistic body images. Such problems as anorexia and bulimia drew her to a facility in south Florida that gives aid to those who are desperately struggling to rid themselves of the eating disorders that are killing them. The Renfrew Facility, as it is known, exposed Lauren to a group of individuals that so impressed her that she felt the need to take their plight to the screen. Thin was the result.
In Thin, Lauren follows four women through every facet of their stay at Renfrew and illustrates the troubles and triumphs they experience on a daily basis. Because of the trust Lauren had garnered with both the patients and the staff, we get an unadulterated look at the women as they fight the illness that has consumed their lives. That said this documentary is not for the faint of heart as it is true cinema verite; both honest and brutal. I was moved, sickened, elated and devastated while watching Lauren’s exploration of a disease that affects more than five million people in the United States alone. This byproduct of our rampant consumer culture is finally being recognized for what it is as even Milan, the hub of world fashion, is denying the dangerously underweight models to walk their runways. Hopefully their actions will be repeated elsewhere so that this fatal distortion of the idea of beauty might end. Thin, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, the Newport International Film Festival and the Jackson Hole Film Festival, is an important film and wholly relevant to the world we live in. This is a documentary not to be missed. If you would like further information on Thin and Lauren’s other projects, visit her website, www.laurengreenfield.com.