I did like this, because the elements are interesting, and I'm a huge fan of Antony's music and persona. But wish I could have loved it – which I might have if it had been put together in a stronger way.
This short feature is equal parts concert document, experimental art piece and portrait of the 13 women who were part of Antony and the Johnsons 'Turning' tour. The idea was that during each song a different women -- including transsexuals, lesbians and straight women -- would stand on a slowly turning platform, their images projected in giant size, as Antony performs some of his wonderfully emotional and personal songs – many of which touch on gender identity, or at least more generally on feeling like an outsider.
While an interesting concept, at only 76 minutes the film feels like all the elements get short shrift. As a concert documentary it can be almost maddening, as we get only snippets of wonderful and complex songs that beg to be heard in full. At the same time, as an art piece seeing only fragments of the performance/video combination robs it of what I bet would have been a slow build of real power. Seeing it in only small bite size pieces, the concept can seem more trite than I wager it did in person.
Last the 13 women only get interviews of a couple of minutes each, meaning that mostly we don't really get to know them much – their brief comments lacking the time or depth to build much emotional power (with one extreme exception, one woman heartrendingly describes watching all of her friends die of AIDS in the 80s. That powerful couple of minutes is by far the emotional peak of the film.)
I also have a question about the women chosen. Almost all are young, and almost all are conventionally beautiful, even model like. Which makes the stated concept of using this format to find their unique beauty and not getting caught in the obvious surface ideas of femininity feel like it's sort have been missed.
Now, all that said, the music is great, and many moments are interesting enough that for a fan, I still was glad I saw it. But to be honest, my biggest reaction was feeling sorry I hadn't been able to simply watch the whole concert, preferably in person. That said, I'll watch it a second time. It seems like one of those oddball films that could grow on one.
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