The surreal nightmare of internationally-acclaimed artist/professor Steve Kurtz began when his wife, Hope, died in her sleep of heart failure. Medics arrived, became suspicious of Kurtz's art, and called the FBI. Within hours, the artist was declared a suspected bioterrorist. Agents descended on his house, sifted through his work and impounded his computers, manuscripts, books, cat, and even his wife's body.
Official Selection, Berlin International Film Festival, 2007 See more »
Like many an unfortunate drama, the story begins with a death. Steve Kurtz called 911 early on the morning of May 11th, after his wife suffered cardiac arrest and died in her sleep. When police arrived on the scene they saw not a 45-year old woman claimed well before her time, but rather petri dishes and sophisticated scientific equipment...
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The Amazing Application of the Docudrama Genre in, Strange Culture (2007)
The Amazing Application of the Docudrama Genre in, Strange Culture (2007) (or, government exploitation of event to circumvent expectation of human rights in the fulfillment of social contract.)
The making of, Strange Culture, establishes a genre form within a genre, so elegantly does it apply both a storyline and it's backing with factual event but incorporates the "director's cut" inside to the making at the same time. Although a feat not for the faint of heart, the production carries its flow in a highly clarifying manner and with the very warmth of both actors and those they portray, seemingly caught up in a labor of love. Even more astounding when the viewer begins to realize the concerns at hand are wrought upon the innocent by a monstrosity that has come to be made in and by the aftermath of America's single greatest outrage, 9/11, exploited to mindlessly move this society closer to a police state.
The government's case against one man becomes solely a pursuit against both the academic world, the world of art and the rights of all to know from whence and by what manner their very food source comes; even the pseudo science employed in tampering with it genetically. A wake-up call we all need that touches upon every right we increasingly only presume to have.
That a group of learned professionals, utilizing their own artistic talents, scholarly knowledge base and friendship as colleagues could put together such a talented art exhibition so incredibly poignant to the social and health concerns of their audience would obviously draw the concerns of the powers that be, the kind of elite that own Monsanto.
In the end we do not know the designs of this most dubious actionable effort of government against its people was early-on instrumented. We do not know this, but we come to suspect it.
The laudable performance of the talented and hauntingly beautiful Tilda Swinton, the superb choice of casting Thomas Jay Ryan in the lead role, and the participation and obvious concern of Peter Coyote are wonderful extra attractions. Writer/director, Lynn Hershman-Leeson, has done far more than a successful job. To attest to this is the placement of a scene in which a group of grad students in a class are asked, "does anyone know about the McCarthy Era?" When no one replies, we immediately know the utter importance of this film.
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