The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins

The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins Movie Poster
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On DVD/VOD: May 11, 2010

1h 49m | Documentary

Performance artist Vanessa Beecroft operates in the world of high art and high society. Her work is provocative and controversial—she has gained notoriety with her nude tableaux—dozens of naked women standing motionless in stark locations. The critics could never decide if it was feminism or exploitation. Over the last few years Vanessa has been drawn to Africa and then ultimately to the Sudanese twins she met in an orphanage.

Vanessa found the undernourished babies on her first day of her first visit to Sudan. She had been breastfeeding her own child prior to flying to the Sudan. She wanted to "save" them—she spent months trying to adopt them—but is she just another wealthy white celebrity seeking to adopt an exotic child?

Her husband Greg initially knew nothing of her adoption moves and then was horrified by her intentions.

Without his knowledge, on her third visit to South Sudan, Vanessa attempts to adopt the twins. In a shell-shocked building, the father of the twins puts his thumbprint to 10 copies of an affidavit.

Alongside the fireworks of her personal life, we witness her artistic drive. A photo session is interrupted with a hammering on the church doors—women from the orphanage want the twins back. Vanessa is photographing them naked which upsets their local customs.

On her return to life with her family in New York, Vanessa tries to encourage her husband, Greg to complete the adoption paperwork. Greg offers her a divorce.

On the streets of New York, Vanessa breaks down with the reality that her personal life cannot be controlled like her art. "My situation is falling apart I think. With Greg it's falling apart, I am rolling off a cliff." Vanessa Beecroft.

We follow Vanessa to Milan and Rome exhibitions, we interview her English father, and her Italian mother who contributes to our understanding of a conflicted daughter.

Director: Pietra Brettkelly
Studio: Kinosmith
Writer(s): Pietra Brettkelly
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