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San Francisco Film-Maker Nara Denning, Part I

9 January 2010

In Nara Denning’s Neurotique, words get in the way of the games couples play. Coupling the formalized aspects of the short underground—mid 20th century-art film, with classic narratives and acting postures more akin to 1920s silent film, Denning achieves a new form perfectly suited to her subject matter. Fetish, folly, and fury; Denning’s post-modern matriarchal hilarious and haunting takes on various romantic relationship fantasy-games may seem cliche at first, but gradually, and seductively, become bonafied archetypes of convulsive beauty and suspended disbelief. Some of the most poetic filmmaking I’ve seen since early Hal Hartley or Cheryl Dunye. It would be great to see how Ms. Denning would approach a longer, feature-length film. In our interview, we did not touch on this point, but I would still not want to see Denning abandon the short-film. She has also begun to work in the “music video” format (of course, if anyone can transcend the line between “music video” and “art film,” it is Denning, as much of Neurotique evidences), including a video by San-Francisco-based Graves Brothers Deluxe. We will talk about this more in Part II. But here’s the first installment of the interview with Ms. Denning, and the trailer to her movie.

 

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