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Who's Afraid of Kathy Acker?
A film by Barbara Caspar
Austria/Germany, 2008, 84 minutes, Color, DVD
Order No. W09966
A multi-layered work featuring animation, archival footage and interviews with the likes of William Burroughs, Carolee Schneemann and Richard Hell, Who’s Afraid of Kathy Acker by Austrian artist Barbara Caspar and co-produced by Annette Pisacane (Nico Icon) and Markus Fischer, is a thoughtful and creative film biography/essay on the late outlaw writer and punk icon, whose formally inventive novels, published from the ’70s through the mid-’90s, challenged assumptions about gender roles, sexuality, and the literary canon.

A beguiling and intensely contradictory figure, Acker is best known for books which creatively appropriated texts from Great White Male writers, retelling them in an emotionally raw, sexually blunt, and politically questioning female voice. With her conceptual art videos in the ’70s, her close-cropped dyed blond hair, her tattoos, and her piercings, Acker was a performance artist, proto riot grrl, and living link to the transgressive authors of the ’50s and ’60s US and French experimental fiction scenes. Caspar has made a film that captures the essence of both Acker the writer and Acker the person while celebrating the avant-garde legacy of an artist who forever expanded the limits of self-expression. — Scott Macaulay, Filmmaker Magazine



AWARDS, FESTIVALS, & SCREENINGS

  • Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film and Video Festival
  • Hot Docs Int’l Documentary Film Festival
  • Vancouver Int’l Film Festival
  • Karlovy Vary Int'l Film Festival
  • Melbourne Int'l Film Festival
  • Thessaloniki Int’l Film Festival
  • Seattle Int’l Film Festival
  • Mill Valley Int’l Film Festival
  • Rotterdam Film Festival
  • Reel Affirmations, DC
  • OutFest, Los Angeles

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QUOTES

    “This documentary provides a fascinating and challenging portrait of Acker’s life and works…. [It] inevitably will provoke debate.”
    Tamara Harvey, Ph.D.
    Asst. Professor of English, Women and Gender Studies, George Mason University

    “An important contribution to American feminist history.”
    Tamara Straus
    San Francisco Chronicle

    “Cleverly approximates Acker’s own playful, confrontative ‘cut-up’ approach to art.”
    Dennis Harvey
    Variety

    “Thoughtful and creative....conveying to the viewer the galvanizing, seductive and complicated nature of [Acker’s] persona.”
    Scott Macaulay
    Filmmaker Magazine

    “Barbara Caspar’s playful film bio [is] like Acker’s innate queerness—tough and sweet, joyous and perverse, funny and sad.”
    Curve

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    Who's Afraid of Kathy Acker? is included in the following Special Collections.
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“Amazing: gritty, honest, clear-eyed…. I wouldn't think of teaching Acker without showing this film."
Ellen G. Friedman
Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies and English, The College of New Jersey
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SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections MUSLIM: Behind the Veil, BODY IMAGE: Women & Young Girls, and AFRICA IS A WOMAN'S NAME.

Deep discounts are available when you purchase multiple films. More details.



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