High Art

Director: Lisa Cholodenko
Screenwriters: Lisa Cholodenko

Institute History


Recently promoted to associate editor at a prestigious photography magazine, Syd (Radha Mitchell) lives in a drab New York City apartment with her boyfriend, James (Gabriel Mann). A ceiling leak leads her to the upstairs apartment of Lucy (Ally Sheedy), a once-renowned photographer who dropped out of the art scene, now living with her heroin-addicted German lover, Greta (Patricia Clarkson), and hosting a regular circle of drug-addicted friends. Syd lures Lucy out of retirement for a magazine piece, but their relationship becomes more intimate, blurring the line between Syd’s professional ambition and personal feelings.

With mesmerizing visual intimacy and superbly drawn characters, Lisa Cholodenko’s debut feature (1998 Sundance Film Festival) is a lyrical reflection on sexual identity, codependence, and the uneasy tension between art and commerce. The emotional depth and aesthetic vision Cholodenko brings to later films like Laurel Canyon and The Kids Are All Right are fully evident in High Art, setting it apart from other depictions of art, addiction, and angst that emerged from New York’s ’90s indie scene.

Thanks to Focus Features/Universal Pictures for providing a new DCP of the film.

Stay after the screening for a conversation with Lisa Cholodenko, Patricia Clarkson, Radha Mitchell, Jeffrey Kusama-Hinte, and Susan Stover.

— Rebecca Yeldham

Screening Details

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