Imaginary Portraits

I love watching movies like Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, where I am left with many questions and quests. The quest of course can be many things, but in this case, I had no idea who Diane Arbus was, and felt I really needed to know her after the film was over. I of course started at Wikipedia, and then killed approximately two hours looking at Arbus photographs and reading about her life.

But this brings us to the question: Is a movie like Fur required to be "authentic" and factual? Can this work of art that stands on its own, be a valid work if it is imaginary? I guess what I liked about Fur specifically is that it tests the boundaries of what conventional movie goers expect. This is not a biopic per se, but a film about the essence of Diane Arbus. How does one capture an essence? I think of poetry, and how the medium of film is like poetry in that what poetry does with words, film can capture mood and tone with images. Arbus's pictures are that way, wrought with emotion, and I think the film captures that essence.

There is specifically one scene that is extremely thought provoking. When Diane's husband discovers that there is an emotional affair going on, and he discovers that her lover Lionel is going to die, he asks her, "What difference does it make. He is going to die anyway." I felt he was asking her, why is she hurting their family, and him so much by continuing on with her actions, if it is not going to come to any kind of fruition? My wife who was watching the film took it to mean that he was giving his wife (Arbus) permission to complete the affair physically, because it would not matter if Lionel was going to die anyway. Arbus kisses her husband and says, "I will go an end it." And proceeds to go up stairs and make love to Lionel. Is that really what the husband was expecting her to do? I thought that it was a nice piece of complex acting/writing to have two people watch the same scene, and have two distinctly different impressions about what was happening. It spawned several conversations about feminine and masculine perspectives, and a discussion over whether committing the physical act of adultery with a dying man really matter?
Nichole Kidman was captivating as Arbus in the film, she has that just so prim and proper manner about her, that when she is able to shed that veneer and show the true sensual woman inside her, it is powerful. I had a few moments during the film where I recalled Eyes Wide Shut, and I may need to see it again, now that I can't seem to stop thinking about this film.