Thursday, March 3: Tickets/Food
I decided to opt out of buying a pass this year, and instead purchase a Gateway Packet — tickets to three films chosen from a specific selection offered by the festival specifically for this option. I then purchased tickets to two additional films at the box office, without having to pay for the least expensive pass option. That would cost a little more, but allow me to see up to ten films — something it is nearly impossible to do in one weekend. After picking up my tickets, I strolled across the street to grab a slice of quiche and a chocolate croissant at The Upper Crust, an eatery inside the Ragtag Theater. I’d had it before, and it was just as good this time as I’d remembered.
I took in a late-starting film alone Thursday night, because Jen had to work Friday and it was not a good idea for her to be up past midnight. One of the extra tickets I bought was for Kate Plays Christine (here is The Guardian‘s review), the subject of which is a newscaster who shot herself on a live broadcast in 1974. This film truly blurred the line between the true and the false, as it was a documentary following an actor starring in a fictitious movie about a very real person.
Christine Chubbuck’s final moments were recorded on a tape that may or may not still exist, her action seen by very few people other than her studio staff and a small number of viewers watching the program as it aired. Nevertheless, the subject of the film is quite gruesome and plays to our morbid fascination with death and tragedy. Or, as director Robert Greene put it during a discussion after the film, to our “gawker” mentality. The real footage was obviously not a part of this film, but was recreated at the end, one of many scenes from the non-existent film within the film.
Apparently the acting for the fictitious film was intentionally bad, which I can’t say I noticed at the time, but in retrospect I did detect a certain emptiness about it. There seemed to be no passion at all, and an underlying frustration with the story. But these are two of many ways in which actor Kate Lyn Sheil’s experience mirrored Christine’s life. The only real video seen of Chubbuck herself was from a different broadcast in which she conducted a very flat, passionless interview.
I was disappointed that Kate Plays Christine kind of made a mockery of the incident without attaching the standard PSA at the end of the suicide hotline. But it accomplished its mission of making the audience think about hidden personal torments and society’s obsession with blood and guts.
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