27 December 2011

Caitlin Plays Herself

Directed by: Joe Swanberg
Written by: Joe Swanberg and Caitlin Stainken
Full credits at IMDb

Director Joe Swanberg is working at a pace unseen since the B-movie mavens of the 1930s. Caitlin Plays Herself is his fifth feature released in 2011 (with at least two more in the can), and it feels loosely shot and quickly assembled—but that's not to say clumsily or without forethought. Co-written by Swanberg and Caitlin Stainken, the movie is a sad, simple, and effective glance at a relationship that, more substantially, explores the blurred distinctions between life and art. A lot of the movie's 70 minutes are filled what the title implies: Jeanne Dielman-lite snippets of eating a banana, reading a magazine, rotating compost, writing, rehearsing conceptual theater pieces. "I perform," Caitlin explains of her stage projects, "but I play myself." While rooftop gardening, she remarks of a worm, "he'll have a nice little life and then he'll just die and become part of the dirt." Caitlin Plays Herself feels like glimpses of the nice little life of such a worm.

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