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Now a Motion Picture


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Fans of quirky coming-of-age comedies like The Graduate, Harold and Maude, and Rushmore are in for a treat when Art School Confidential opens in theaters on May 5. Written by Oakland resident Daniel Clowes, the film takes place in a New York City art school filled with pretentious teachers, overly ambitious students, and at least one serial killer.

Confidential features an all-star cast, including John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, and Oscar winners Angelica Huston and Jim Broadbent. Movie buffs who enjoyed Clowes’s screenwriting debut, the 2001 comedy Ghost World, are going to love Confidential’s similarly hilarious tone.Art School Confidential was inspired by a four-page comic Clowes first published in 1991 in his underground comic book Eightball. “It was like a Mad Magazine piece—the lighter side of art school,” says the 44-year-old artist (pictured in self-portrait, right). “I did it to fill four pages and to amuse the nine people I still kept in touch with from those days.” His characters are often cynical, isolated misanthropes, tolerable only because of the humor Clowes layers into his drawings and stories. His comic books have received rave reviews and garnered a devoted following, but movies expose a much broader audience to Clowes’s particular brand of pathos. The screenplay for Ghost World, which was based on another of his comic novels, earned him an Academy Award nomination. Clowes says going to the Oscars “was like being back in high school again, where I was the nerd and the jocks were over at another table—except this time the jocks were Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman.”Although his work has on two occasions “gone Hollywood,” Clowes himself is happier here in the East Bay. He likes to keep close to his two-year-old son Charlie’s favorite spot: the steam trains at Tilden Park.

Art School Confidential will show at the San Francisco International Film Festival (www.sfiff.org) on April 26. Look for it in East Bay theaters on May 5. For information, go to www.sonyclassics.com/artschoolconfidential.

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