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Smash His Camera

Ron Galella's storied past and still-active present are chronicled in docu.

With:
With: Ron Galella, Floyd Abrams, Dick Cavett, Betty Burke Galkella, Thomas Hoving, Peter Howe, Martin London, Stuart Schlesinger, Paul Schmulback, Liz Smith.

The first notorious and still most famous paparazzo (a term he embraces), Ron Galella has a storied past and still-active present that are chronicled in “Smash His Camera.” This entertaining docu by “When We Were Kings’?” Leon Gast is more eccentric personality portrait than the in-depth scrutiny of celebrity-culture madness afforded by fellow Sundance preem “Teenage Paparazzo.” Amusing, lightweight feature’s mix of colorful human interest and a bazillion star images make it natural for cable.

At 78, Bronx native Galella is as driven as ever, screeching across Manhattan to chase a celebrity tip, sneaking into invite-only events, etc. Such tactics are widespread now, but for years his shameless ingenuity was considered unique, appalling — and unbeatable. His admitted obsession with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis grew so invasive she took him to court twice, at one point getting a 50-yard restraining order. But Galella, a cheerful vulgarian whose “Sopranos”-like Jersey manse features a garden of plastic flora, sees no moral quandary in his work. He’s at once conscienceless and innocent, a “parasite” who believes deep down that celebrities really want all the attention, all the time. Assembly is bright and brisk.

— Dennis Harvey

Smash His Camera

Production: A Got the Shot production. Produced by Adam Schlesinger, Linda Saffire. Executive producers, Jeffrey Tarrant, William Ackman, Daniel Stern. Directed by Leon Gast.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Doug Don Lenzer; editor, Doug Abel; music, Craig Hazen, David Wolfert. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (competing), Jan. 24, 2010. Running time: 90 MIN.

With: With: Ron Galella, Floyd Abrams, Dick Cavett, Betty Burke Galkella, Thomas Hoving, Peter Howe, Martin London, Stuart Schlesinger, Paul Schmulback, Liz Smith.With: Ron Galella, Floyd Abrams, Dick Cavett, Betty Burke Galkella, Thomas Hoving, Peter Howe, Martin London, Stuart Schlesinger, Paul Schmulback, Liz Smith.

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