Tag Archives: cody clarke rehearsals

The Final Member: A Documentary About Penises, And On A Deeper Level, About Documentaries

finalmember


The Final Member (Completed in 2012, Released in 2014)
Directed by Zach Math and Jonah Bekhor
90 min.

Spoiler-free.

There’s a scene in this delightful film about a penis museum and the men who want their members to be immortalized in it that is so important that I shouldn’t even talk about it, but I have to, because it unintentionally has a lot to say about documentaries. Don’t worry—I’ve figured out a way to discuss it without spoiling anything.
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‘Rehearsals’ is a Zeitgeist and Your Bed is a Museum

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Rehearsals (2012)
Directed by Cody Clarke
73 min.

IMDb Synopsis: An experimental documentary in which fly-on-the-wall footage of the lives of sixteen aspiring actresses from NYC is collaged to form a day in the life of one aspiring actress—each ‘playing’ a different aspect of the woman. Through this unconventional approach, filmmaker Cody Clarke has painted a visual poem; an ode to both the beauty and the pain of solitude.

Spoiler-free.

When I go to a museum with friends, unless I’m really close to them already, I act weird. I move from piece to piece quickly, afraid of blocking someone’s view. I make awkward quips. I find myself concerned with whether the person next to me knows more or less about the art than I do. And I almost certainly never read the plaques, although I pretend to. All this doesn’t happen on purpose—it’s an instinctive, self-defeating defense mechanism, and it’s embarrassing and insulting to the art.

This same insecurity happens to pretty much everyone I’ve watched a Cody Clarke movie with. I know this, because I’ve forced a lot of friends to watch them.
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Documentaries: The Most Repulsive Genre

bowling

Michael Moore, being repulsive. That was not intended as a dig at his physicality. He’d be repulsive even if he looked like Kat Dennings. Okay, maybe not then, but you get the point.

What is a documentary?

I know that may seem like kind of a ridiculous, pretentious question to ask, especially right off the bat of an essay or whatever, but I don’t mean it like that. I’m absolutely serious, and it’s an entirely valid question. What the fuck is one? I don’t think we really know. I mean, we know ‘em when we see ‘em I guess. Basically, they’re movies about real life. Nothing staged. Except interviews, of course. Interviews are, by their very nature, extremely staged and controlled and can very easily be manipulated by both the interviewer and the editor, but those get a pass, I guess. (As do dramatic reenactments, which can be very misleading, but are thought of as okay for some reason.) I think we can all agree though that documentaries definitely must not have a script that people are following. That’s for sure. Well—except of course in the case of a sort of monologue through-line or whatever. The documentarian gets a pass on having a script. Even if it’s way subjective. Man, this is getting contradictory. And confusing. And gross.
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