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Cool Doc: Bettie Page Tells All

New documentary explores the fascinating and mysterious life of the 1950s pin-up model

Everyone knows Bettie Page, the instantly recoginzable icon of sexy-kinky pin-up photography from the days before Internet porn. But as I started watching the fascinating new documentary Bettie Page Reveals All, I realized I knew absolutely nothing about Page as a person. I only knew her from her still pictures.

Oscar-nominated director Mark Mori (Building Bombs) paints a fascinating portrait of his late subject, who was interviewed at length just before her death in 2008. Page, a victim of horrible abuse as a child and young woman, became a model at age 27, posed in Playboy way back in 1955, and then vanished into obscurity (working for Billy Graham's ministry). While Page vanished from the public eye, her persona grew exponentially—Bettie Page Reveals All is packed with interviews with fashion and publishing icons, all singing her praises.

Bettie Page Reveals All is well worth a trip to the Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley or Opera Plaza Cinemas in San Francisco. Pop culturists should head to the Shattuck on Saturday night for a Best Retro Outfit contest before the 7 p.m. screening.