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Beautopia Reviews

In spite of endless footage of models walking, riding and flying and the unnecessary narration of producer-writer-director Katharina Otto, this documentary about the making of a supermodel delivers the goods. The film opens with a tangential, precious montage of Otto and the story of how she first got interested in models. Then the credits roll and the real film begins: Four "new discoveries" with "important futures" will be followed as they fly between New York, Hamburg and Milan in a race to make it in the world of modeling. The girls are evaluated, coached, made over, encouraged and rejected in a series of meetings with agents, bookers and designers. One girl won’t do because she’s "fipsy-pipsy" (whatever that means) while another is dismissed because she "can’t talk English." These trials are interspersed with interviews with some of the fashion world’s shining icons. Elle Macpherson, looking flawless, gushes about travel. Naomi Campbell, looking strung out, kvetches to Lauren Hutton. Isaac Mizrahi tells anecdotes. Calvin Klein reminisces about discovering Kate Moss, is shocked by the idea that Kate might be anorexic and tells us what men like in a girl. There are also appearances by Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer, Oscar de la Renta and Valentino. Just about everyone (at least, everyone who's anyone in fashion's rarified mileu) is on hand to graciously tackle the question, "What is the je ne sais quoi that makes a beautiful girl a supermodel? Appropriating the tone of Mutual Of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, Otto reveals the hidden portion of fashion's iceberg, showing the skewed, self-reverential makers and shakers as they try to solicit desire using makeup, hair and long-legged women.