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Review: 'Sellebrity' doc captures celebrity photography industry

January 10, 2013|By Gary Goldstein
  • A scene from "Sellebrity."
A scene from "Sellebrity." (Handout )

The nimbly conceived and constructed documentary "Sellebrity" takes a vivid look at the megabucks industry of celebrity photography through a cogent variety of lenses.

It's an enjoyable snapshot that effectively explores the colliding — often complicit — worlds of fame, entertainment publicity, the public's infatuation with gossip and the dogged paparazzi at the epicenter of it all.

Sadly, the recent death of L.A. photographer Chris Guerra, who was hit by an SUV after taking pictures of Justin Bieber's Ferrari, makes this exposé seem especially timely.

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Producer-director Kevin Mazur, himself a veteran rock 'n' roll photographer, packs an enormous amount of vital information into a brisk and visually alluring 90 minutes filled with involving interviews, archival clips, media industry insight, show-biz history and paparazzi-in-action footage.

Such oft-photographed targets as Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Jessica Parker, Elton John, then-married Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, and others relate their at-times harrowing tales of paparazzi invasion, while such self-possessed paps as Ricardo Mendoza and Britain's Darryn Lyons offer flip-side perspective.

Italy's Gilberto Petrucci, one of the original so-called assault photographers (until Federico Fellini coined the term paparazzo in his 1960 film "La Dolce Vita"), weighs in as well.

Issues such as 1st Amendment rights, what constitutes journalism and the paparazzi's pursuit of celebrity children also get an intriguing workout.

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"Sellebrity." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes. At the Chinese 6 Theatres, Hollywood.

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