The actor James Dean made only three films before he died in a car crash at the age of 24. What is less well known is that he acted on stage and TV before embarking on his movie career. In 1955 the Life magazine photographer Dennis Stock took a photograph of the then relatively unknown Dean that would later become iconic. With his white T-shirt, black leather jacket and characteristic hair style, Dean came to epitomise the rebellious young 20-something.
Life is all about the relationship between Dean and Stock. Who is helping whom with the photograph? Since Dean was not yet famous, he and the photographer were more or less equals in terms of needing a helping hand up the career ladder. We see how Dean wrestles with his burgeoning fame and how Stock feels trapped in an unhappy marriage and neglects his role as father.
Life is directed by the famous Dutch photographer and filmmaker Anton Corbijn, who has directed his lens at almost every celebrity in the worlds of music and film. This makes him the ideal director for this film, which also paints a very good picture of 1950s America.