Richard Kern was an underground filmmaker who specialised in transgressive themes, and images that are violent and erotic at the same go. Like Kenneth Anger, who seems to have been an influence on him, Kern is less interested in coherent narrative than in presenting themes and images that will provoke us, shock us and ... possibly ... arouse us.
"X is Y" is a very short film, consisting of images of young women handling automatic handguns and rifles. The women's physical appearances and the overall direction are clearly intended to eroticise the firearms whilst emphasising the phallic aspect of the weapons. The film's title is not explained, but it apparently has a genetic basis: X is the female chromosome and Y the male chromosome. Apparently, Kern is suggesting that handguns are 'supposed to be' male objects, yet here are these very sexy and unquestionably female women engaged in the 'male' activities of gun-love and shooting.
"X is Y" features some thrash music by a band with the appropriate name Cop Shoot Cop. Kern shows some genuine directorial talent within his narrow self-appointed genre, and the women in this movie are very delightful to look at. I'll rate this quickie 6 out of 10.
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