Monday, April 14, 2014

Director Kitty Green on Ukraine is Not a Brothel

In (coastal) America the line between performance art and pornography has long been walked by a plethora of female provocateurs, from Annie Sprinkle right up to Sasha Grey. So in this sense Femen – a loose knit group of mostly model-figure feminists who stage topless, flash mob-style protests – aren’t doing anything that would create uproar in New York or San Francisco. But in their native Ukraine, a country with an especially misogynistic mentality that doesn’t take too kindly to any citizen intent on upending the system, they cause a stir and then some.

Luckily there’s Kitty Green’s Ukraine is Not a Brothel, a documentary that goes beyond both politics and T&A hype to bring us a complex portrait of a movement seemingly riddled with contradiction. From its anti-patriarchal male founder, who claims paradoxes are part of history (citing Marx and Lenin – anti-bourgeois figures who were both bourgeois themselves), and who acknowledges he may have started the whole thing in part to be around sexy chicks, to a member who views her decision to work as an exotic dancer as a means not to be dependent on a man, Green’s inquisitive intelligent filmmaking is far more subversive than any bare-breasted sloganeering could ever be.

Global Comment spoke with the Ukrainian-speaking Aussie director prior to the film’s Canadian premiere at Toronto’s Hot Docs. To read my interview visit Global Comment.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Directors Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine Discuss The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden

I’ve seen Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine’s The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden twice now, the first time at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, and most recently at the Bermuda International Film Festival (where I’m on the international advisory board and served on this year’s jury). Set on the paradise island of Floreana in the Galapagos in the 1930s, it’s a tale of small town feuding and Tinseltown aspirations turned deadly. It features famous names like Cate Blanchett and Diane Kruger, and a colorful cast of characters, from a Nietzsche-reading hermit doctor to a limelight-loving, faux baroness. Most surprisingly, it’s not a Hollywood flick. On the contrary, it’s a documentary – proving once again that truth can be stranger than fiction. And that a nonfiction flick can be entertaining enough to sit through twice. I spoke with the talented co-directors prior to the film’s NYC theatrical premiere on April 4th.

To read my interview visit Global Comment.