Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sounds Like a Fish!

I was conversing with a friend of mine about living a life with movies this week. He's becoming deeply involved with a film festival in his native Belgium, and I noted that it's funny how, the deeper you go into movies, the more they insinuate themselves into your life. I used as an example a short film that I made a couple of years ago with my friend, critic and filmmaker Kevin Lee, for his now-concluded Shooting Down Pictures project. My friend naturally asked where he could see it and I realized that I hadn't posted it here. So here it is.

A few months after Kevin posted this on his site, he sent me an email:

Dear Kristin, Jonathan, Girish, Nicole and Christianne,

I'm happy to share the exciting news that the video essays that I produced with each of you have all been selected for an ongoing series of "Films About Films" at the Arsenal Theater in FilmMuseum Berlin. The monthly series also includes works and talks with folks such as Harun Farocki, Alexander Horwath, Alain Bergala, Tag Gallagher and Jean Douchet. The program that features our work is focused on video criticism and internet culture. It takes place April 17. You can view the program here:

I'm incredibly pleased with the recognition of this work and your specific contributions to it. I hope we'll have the opportunity to collaborate on others. Thanks again for taking a valuable role in this work as it continues to evolve.


I wrote on another blog: "I am, to say the least, gobsmacked. "Jonathan" is critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, "Kristin" is film historian Kristin Thompson. In film circles, this is fairly rarefied company. Frankly, I'm shocked that they chose to screen my film from amongst all of the video essays Kevin has made. I mean, it's purely an accident that I did it at all. Be that as it may, something I made is showing in an actual theater and is being examined by a discriminating audience. This is both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. Anyone who is as deeply immersed in film as I am dreams of this sort of thing, and now, for me, it's real."

Kevin subsequently posted video of his Berlin experience. It's good video, though the trouble he has with pronouns when referring to me makes me cringe.

These days, I'm kind of ambivalent about the Garp video. It's had a fairly significant effect on my life. It outed me in the film communities I frequent, though that has turned out to be an enormously positive thing. It's insured that, should I ever want to, I'll never be able to live my life in stealth. I don't know that that's a bad thing, actually, because it's not something I ever intended, but there's still a certain feeling of loss. I've also had to rethink a lot of the things I say ex cathedra in that video. Queer theorist Julia Serrano doesn't much like Roberta Muldoon. In her book, Whipping Girl, she uses Roberta as an example of the "pathetic transsexual" stereotype, and further implies that she's an example of the hyperfeminine fallacy. I can't say that I disagree with her, only that I love Roberta Muldoon in spite of this. I'm also uncomfortable with the way I seem to be speaking on behalf of transsexuals as a community and how I seem to suggest that trans people have a uniformity of experience. They don't. There are as many ways to be trans as there are as there are trans people. There's also not even an inkling that there are female to male transsexuals in my commentary, which is a fault.

Still, as I say, this is something I made. It's something that I'm proud of. I've been negligent by not posting it on this blog. In some ways, it's responsible for me committing more fully to movie blogging in the first place, so this blog is built in part on this video.


TotalD said...

Yes ,he does have a problem with pronouns. Though,his knowledge of your former history might be whats momentarily interfering. I found your commentary brilliant, your points clear as a bell. I loved Roberta as if she were family and founder the honesty i her portrayal utterly disarming, even pre-transition. Lithgow is no average actor so his Roberta lives. Without her the film is rather flat.

You should make more films, I'd listen.

Vulnavia Morbius said...

Hi, Darlie.

Yeah. Garp has a lot of problems, but Lithgow isn't one of them. He absolutely nails the role. Have you seen Brian De Palma's Raising Cain? I've always thought that his role in that was De Palma having some fun with Lithgow going from Blow Out to Garp in the span of like, nine months. The end of that movie is kind of funny if you look at it that way.

As for more films? I'd like to. I probably should.

Mykal said...

I've always enjoyed Lithgow's complete ease with this role, so smart. "I had great hands," could have been a very hammy line, yet he gave it such a perfectly casual undertone of mutal intelligence. I enjoyed your commentary as well.