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At the Met

In the guise of a feature documentary, director Andrew Rossi’s The First Monday in May offers a colorful and nicely assembled infomercial for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. For 90 minutes you’re treated to a gushing, starry-eyed promotional tour that, in the end, borders on the obnoxious.

The film offers an inside look into the work that went into creating the “China: Through the Looking Glass” exhibition in 2015 and the Met Ball that would introduce it. Front and center are Andrew Bolton, the Met’s curator, and Anna Winotur, the editor-inchief of Vogue, who is widely believed to have been the inspiration for the main, mean character in Lauren Weisberger’s best-seller The Devil Wears Prada and the subsequent film version, for which Meryl Streep received one of her many Oscar nominations. Winotur duly discusses this, but what it has to do with the exhibition is anyone’s guess. (It wasn’t that good a movie, either.)

Bolton and Winotur are shown working diligently, and appear very satisfied with their efforts. It’s not uninteresting watching Bolton put together the exhibition, but this takes a backseat to the more pressing issue — which celebrities will show up for the Ball. Cue the suspense, would that there was any.

Fear not, because the well-dressed likes of George and Amal Clooney (whose decision not to stop and talk on the red carpet is treated as an act of treason), Kate Hudson, Kim Kardashian, Chloe Sevigny, Jennifer Lopez and Justin Bieber are among the luminaries in attendance. (Larry David has the funniest red-carpet moment, which cannot be reprinted here.)

At long last, when songbird Rhianna makes her grand entrance, to the strains of Nat King Cole’s “Twilight Time,” it brings to mind Winotur’s earlier observation about art and commerce – and it’s clear which category The First Monday in May falls into. Art’s important, but celebrity more so. The event proves so successful that Vogue is able to publish a special issue on it. Whew – isn’t that a relief?

The First Monday in May opens Friday

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