USA, 2011, 72 min
After many inventive short works, Marie Losier’s first feature film is an intimate and poignant portrait of Genesis P-Orridge, the industrial music, performance art and body mod pioneer (and onetime SF resident). Shot on HD and 16mm, with sound floated in as if from outer space, the film combines Losier’s home movie–style cinematography with whimsical set pieces and amazing archival footage to collage P-Orridge’s mercurial career with her deep love for late muse and other half, the lovely Lady Jaye. More specifically, it explores the pair’s primary art project: their merging into a single “pandrogyne” through plastic surgery and various practices of oneness. The debatable success of this project makes it no less interesting though also, at times, somewhat sorrowful. For all its playfulness and provocation—and there’s plenty: It opens with P-Orridge looking like Carol Channing in a diaphanous bird suit, chirping mellifluously, and tracks her vanguard work with COUM Transmissions, Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV—the film has a tweaked melancholy. It is as much an elegy as a ballad, not only for the loss of a loved one but also for something that not everyone cares about or even believes in: the late 20th-century avant-garde. If, by chance, you do believe in this—if, Burners and friends, you believe in a vital sociopoetical underground bent on world liberation—then this singularly magical little film will give you plenty of ideas to swipe and heartfelt permission to go further; as well as, perhaps, a hatful of blues to sort through.
Presented in association with San Francisco Cinematheque and San Francisco LGBT Community Center.