Ended on 8/5/2010


2010 - USA - English - 87 minutes - Magnolia Pictures

Directed by: Leon Gast

Featuring: Ron Galella, Liz Smith, Chuck Close

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Acclaimed documentarian Leon Gast (the Oscar-winning documentary "When We Were Kings") turns the camera on self-described paparazzo superstar Ron Galella to reveal a man as fascinating as any of his famous subjects. Taking its name from an order Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis issued to her security team, SMASH HIS CAMERA chronicles Galella's meteoric career as a notorious guerilla photographer and offers a thoughtful examination of the nature of fame, the relationship between celebrities and their chroniclers, and the delicate balance between privacy and feedom of the press over the past 30 years.

Galella revisits old haunts and shares war stories about Michael Jackson, Princess Diana, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Robert Redford and other superstars who tried and failed to escape his lens. He proudly recalls the night Marlon Brando broke his jaw with one punch, knocking out five teeth in the process. Unafraid of the limelight himself, Galella donned a football helmet for his next encounter with the actor, and invited a photographer friend to document the outcome.

But no other subject caught his imagination (or the public's) like former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. From 1967 to 1982, Gallela pursued her with a determination bordering on obsessions. When his attention grew overwhelming, she instructed her Secret Service detail to prevent him from photographing her and her children.

In 1973, Galella filed a harassment suit against Onassis, alleging she was preventing him from doing his job. Onassis filed a countersuit and the epic legal battle that followed inspired an ongoing debate over the privacy of public figures. Ironically, his photographs became ironic images of Mrs. Onassis, some of them depicting "Jackie at her most fetching", as gossip doyenne Liz Smith says in the film.

In addition to Liz Smith, SMASH HIS CAMERA features interviews with photojournalist Harry Benson, visual artist Chuck Close, Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, Thomas Hoving, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and attorneys on both sides of the historic legal battle, among others.

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