13-24 nov 2024
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Not a Pretty Picture

Not a Pretty Picture

Martha Coolidge
United States
1976
83 min
n.a.
Focus: Fabrications
Synopsis

At the age of 16, Martha Coolidge was raped by a fellow student. This experience, and in particular the emotions and rhetoric in its aftermath, forms the starting point for this Brechtian film, in which Coolidge re-enacts the event and places the creative process in the foreground.

From the beginning, there is a clear distinction between the fictional scenes, in which the acting is deliberately slightly affected, and the documentary sequences, in which the actors discuss their roles and their own experiences. This produces a dialectical film about the gray areas of adolescent sex, and the web of insecurity, ignorance, privilege and performance pressure that can so easily turn into a toxic cocktail.

Coolidge further complicates matters in the intense rehearsal scenes, in which it is often not clear to the viewer what agreements have been made and whether they are being adhered to. Thus, these scenes themselves also enter gray areas, confronting the viewer with the ease with which boundaries can be blurred, shifted and crossed when they are not clearly drawn.

Not a Pretty Picture has been restored by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation. Funding was provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.

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Credits
83 min
color
DCP
Spoken languages: English
Director
    Martha Coolidge
    Martha Coolidge
Production
    Martha Coolidge
    Martha Coolidge
Co-production
    Jan Saunders
    Jan Saunders
Cinematography
    Fred Murphy,
    Don Lenzer
    Fred Murphy,
    Don Lenzer
Editing
    Martha Coolidge
    Martha Coolidge
Screenplay
    Martha Coolidge
    Martha Coolidge
World Sales
    Pebble Entertainment
    Pebble Entertainment
Screening copy
    Academy Film Archive
    Academy Film Archive

Stills

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More from the program section Focus: Fabrications
Fabrications investigates the image of truth often associated with documentaries. With a selection of films, we probe the difference between reality and realism and look at how films attempt to address this through a deliberate mix of fiction and documentary technique.Focus: Fabrications is supported by Vfonds.
View program section
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