14 May 2005

further cognitive activity on the topic of A Perfect Fake

this morning i awoke to an unexpected email (WHO KNEW?!?!) from the director (who i am not personally acquainted with) of A Perfect Fake, the documentary i saw a few weeks ago that prompted some serious querying on my part. i am awaiting permission from him to publish the email, but wanted to publish my response in case my stance had seemed unclear or disciminatory to my reader(s) in any way.
just got permission; here's the initial email, followed by my response.
hey there
someone sent me your posting on my film A Perfect Fake...
so that was you, asking the 'woman question'? I am sorry if i sounded dismissive. its a complicated question, and its clear i didn't successfully address your concerns.
i am a bit baffled though, as to why you insisted (twice) in your posting on identifying Kathleen Pirrie Adams as a 'lesbian'--in italics yet!
However true this might be, your insistent identification of her sexual orientation seems to be aimed at somehow discrediting what she is saying....as if to say, sure, there's a woman in the film--but she's a lesbian, folks (wink wink)...I fail to see what relevance this has to anything....
Would you point out that someone is black, or Asian, or fat?
On the other hand, you also neglected to mention that in the same response, I also said that 'my producer was a woman'. As far as 'involvement' in making a film goes, you don't get much more 'involved' than a producer...they are the reason the film happens, full stop. They are 'involved' every step of the way. Clearly, this fact didn't suit you.

Anyway, let me just say this: I set out to make a film which had a particular tone-- a tone of non-judgement.

I am not interested in finger pointy indignation, or easy targets. I like work that forces the viewer to think, rather than joining them in fits of unearned moral outrage at how 'appalling' men are. I don't like smug holier than thou films. I don't like films that mock their characters....

this accounts in part, for the 'uncritical' presentation of the characters in my film. there are other things as well, but i suppose that's enough for now.

take care,
Marc de Guerre


This is an unexpected email, and i totally appreciate you taking the time to respond to my posting, (as well as somewhat fascinated at just how far-reaching my tiny blog seems to be.)
I do agree the "woman" question with regards to "A Perfect Fake" must have been a complicated one, and Definitely one that would exceed the time limit of the very short Q and A that Hot Docs was able to provide.
It seems however, that I need to elaborate on a few things that my posting might not have made clear.

I must assure you first off that Kathleen Pirrie Adams was An Utter Merit to the film. Not once in my thoughts has it been my intention to discredit her, and if she too has read my posting and is in doubt about this, please forward this to her, offer her both my sincere apologies for lack of clarity and my contact details if necessary. I am very happy to speak with her myself. In fact, I put the same sincere question out to you and to her that I did at the screening: I really would like to know what she (and the other women involved) thought about the film, off-camera, and the experience of making it.

I do maintain that gender orientation in this instance is of relevance. NOT in a "wink wink" kind of a way, as you intone, but in a Straight-Up "we are addressing issues of sex, and men's sexual relations with "women" (albeit false ones). I feel that heterosexual women DO have attitudes on this topic, and these attitudes are both Relevant and Highly Important. Ms. Adams' comments were spot-on, and intellectually astute, but what was lacking in the film (for me, anyway) were comments by heterosexual women, for whom this issue can be much more contentious. I feel that to ignore both genders' views of this issue; that is, the concerns of those men addicted, (which I felt were very well addressed, to your credit) and the concerns of the people (particularly female) that love/care/are close to them, is Dangerous.

I do also need to point out that I am one humble viewer; my blog is a personal endeavour with a small audience. I am recording my opinions of things I experience, and they are perhaps less researched or objective than a review that the daily Toronto papers or NOW weekly might proffer. I am still trying to negotiate my way through the understanding that a blog is a public platform, and some people reading (including yourself) may not be aware of my personal Antipathy towards discrimination of any sort. This is unfortunate, and hopefully I can make that clear in retrospect with this email.
As with my blog, your film was a personal project, and you have the Utter right to approach it with whatever perspective you may have. But opinions of any sort and medium, when put into a public forum are going to find dissenters.
This is out of your control and (in the case of my blog) mine.
I do feel that your film was non-judgemental, and I appreciate that must have been very difficult to achieve, and commend you on it. It was a difficult film to watch, and I confess that I knew it would be so before walking in. I'm not a moralist, (as further reading of my blog might attest to), nor am I interested in "holier than thou" endeavours to discredit fetishists or those with (how shall we phrase it?) alternative sexual leanings. Not at All.
But I am interested in addressing some of the more ethereal (perhaps traditionally feminine) issues in how the cyber-age is affecting our sexual relations with each other; the perspective in your film seemed unbalanced.
The truth of the matter is that you are male, and bring that to the table as a filmmaker. I am female, and bring that to the table as one of the film's audience members. If I continued to feel that righteous about what was missing in the film, I could go off and make my own film about the same subject. This is not something I am planning. I did, nonetheless, voice my opinion, however subjective, in the forum that I choose to record these things.
It is possible with a more selective screening venue that you could avoid getting reviews such as mine about your work, but would that be as productive? Your film was thought-provoking enough to have elicited a fairly loaded response on my part (as well as others who I spoke with about the film), so I would count that as a successful venture on your part regardless.

With your permission, I would love to post your concerns on my blog, as well as my response; perhaps it would be helpful to get some outside perspective from anyone else who might care to read it...

Cheers, and once again thank you for your email,

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