Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Aaron and I saw went to MOMA last night to see a screening of Barbara Caspar's new documentary Who's Afraid of Kathy Acker. I am sorry to say I was thoroughly disappointed.

Acker's writing heavily informed my postmodern feminist ponderings. Body politics and the reality of post-feminism became tangible issues I could start to digest rather than phrases I threw around aimlessly in my college papers. Acker gave voice to the gritty side of sexual repression (repression embedded so deep in our cultural psyches we learn and believe it doesn't exist).

At 90 minutes, the film accesses many people who worked with and knew Acker, plus includes several valuable clips of her readings and performances. Unfortunately with all it's potential it lacks cohesion and falls short of any sincerity. (I wanted to learn about Acker, not watch someone's creative rendering of her). Throughout the film we see short snippets of young women responding and reacting to Acker's books. It is never revealed who these women are (I assumed students). They have some interesting reactions, and they are all suspiciously attractive. Turns out they were all auditioning for the film's fictive role of "Janey" the (anti)heroine of Blood and Guts in High School. This attempt to create Janey in the documentary does a major disservice to the character; she comes across as sweet and confused ... and she wears a Kappa Delta t-shirt. Wow. Is this girl (who is half the time unfortunately animated) Janey or Acker or a girl who is 'coming into her own' [gag]? It is never clear, I eventually I didn't even want to know.

[To be fair, this was not the final edit - which will premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival this spring.]

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