katrinaolson.ca - KO Review of The First Monday in May

Posted on Monday, September 12, 2016 at 11:00 AM

KO Review of The First Monday in May

Review by Katrina Olson-Mottahed x CalgaryMovies.com

I wanted to see The First Monday in May so bad since last spring when it came out. Of course there was no where in the city I live (Calgary) that was screening it because it was to premiere at Tribeca Film Festival and had a very limited release in Canada. Womp womp. So I looked around for it online half-heartedly, then forgot about it completely until last week when I saw it on Air Canada’s enroute inflight entertainment. I could go on, and on about how many amazing films I have watched on board Air Canada. If only their meals on board were half as appetizing as their film selections…

Anyway, moving on…. If you have not heard about the film The First Monday in May, it is a documentary following the creation of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most attended fashion exhibition in history, “China: Through The Looking Glass,” an exploration of Chinese-inspired Western fashions by Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton.

If you watch the trailer, and thought this was like “The September Issue” following Anna Wintour, think again. Other than the constant hovering of the bob with black sunglasses holding a starbucks, the focus is not on Anna. The trailer made me think that,but it’s deceiving. However, The First Monday in May is about Andrew Bolton the curator at the met costume institute, and how challenging it is putting on a production of that magnitude is. I really enjoyed his previous exhibition “Savage Beauty” of Alexander McQueen’s collection. Andrew is obvious brilliant and has an unparalleled vision.

It’s about the Met Ball, but more about the costume institute operating from within the museum. Oh, and the creative consultant on the project… Baz Luhrmann (director Moulin Rouge, Romeo & Juliet, and The recent Great Gatsby). Hence the fairytale fantastical feeling of this film. Andre Tally Leon references Rihanna as “the American Dream” and that’s what the met ball is. This film is the only way you or I, will ever see BTS of the Met Gala.

The conflict exists between the art and the fashion. For the Asian gaze, they bring in none other than Wong Kar Wai, the critically acclaimed Hong Kong second wave filmmaker! He keeps things on the up and up from the Chinese contemporary perspective. It’s the Met’s traditionalists versus the neoconservatives of the fashion world and how they perceive China’s the past through the looking glass. The intellectual content of the Chinese art needs to remain a focus amongst the pop culture icons and western ideals. All things considered the exhibition had 800, 000 viewers and raised 12.5 million dollars for the museum.

Watch The First Monday in May on iTunes by clicking HERE >

Calgary Showtimes: The First Monday in May >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.