High Art  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

High Art (1998) is an independent movie directed by Lisa Cholodenko and starring Ally Sheedy and Radha Mitchell.


Sydney (or simply 'Syd'), age 24, is a young woman who has her whole life mapped out in front of her. Living with longtime boyfriend, James, and working her way up at the well respected high art photography magazine "Frame", Syd's desires and frustrations seem typical and manageable. But when a crack in her ceiling springs a leak and Syd finds herself knocking on the door of her upstairs neighbor, a chance meeting suddenly takes Syd on a path she's never expected.

Opening the door to an uncharted world for Syd is Lucy Berliner, a renowned photographer, enchanting, elusive, and curiously retired. Now at age 40, Lucy lives with her once glamorous, heroin--addicted German girlfriend, Greta, and plays host to a collection of hard-living party kids. Before Syd's caught her breath, she's caught Lucy's fascination and is drawn into the center of Lucy's strangely alluring life upstairs.

When Syd's bosses at Frame catch wind of her acquaintance with Lucy, they suddenly take interest in Syd and pressure her to bring Lucy to the magazine. Soon a working relationship develops between the two and a project is underway which promises a second chance for Lucy's career. But as Syd and Lucy's collaboration draws them closer together, their working relationship turns sexual and the lines between love and professionalism suddenly blur. As Syd slowly discovers the darker truths of Lucy's life on the edge, she is forced to confront her own hunger for recognition and the uncertain rewards of public esteem.


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