Posted by: Haotao Xiong | February 27, 2010

Review: ‘Smash His Camera’

Shared by Benjamin Hedrick. Benjamin is a Columbia resident who dabbles in writing, acting and a variety of other arts. The Missourian is featuring reader contributions all weekend. If you’d like to submit your photos, stories or reviews, send them to submissions@mymissourian.com.

Smash His Camera” focuses on Ron Galella, the self-proclaimed “Paparazzi Superstar.”

Early on we watch as modern-day Ron successfully sneaks into an awards ceremony, hand delivering a copy of his book to Robert Redford. What follows is a journey through archived news footage to examine Ron’s encounters with his subjects over the years for better or worse.  

The “worse” is more prevalent here, as we learn how Jackie Onassis won a restraining order on Galella (“I was single at the time, so Jackie-O was sorta my girlfriend,” Galella states), and hear of the night Marlon Brando knocked out five of Ron’s teeth. The issue of First Amendment rights concerning Ron’s profession is also explored (“Ron is the cost of the First Amendment,” states one participant unfavorably of Galella).

Ron’s home life, from his love of rabbits to the basement archive containing more than three million photographs, gives us a better look at the man so often on the other side of the camera.

This is by far a look at a man whose prime is behind him. Galella laments that the day of the iconic movie star is gone, and photographers such as him are obsolete, especially in his old age (79 during filming). Ron will continue to make money through selling his prized photographs to collectors, but the thrill he sought for decades is gone forever.
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