Thursday, 12 January 2017

REVIEW - KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE (ROBERT GREENE)


Peering into a character - a real person, one who really existed. The actor researches, but so does the director - researching the person, the character, the actor, and themselves. Her technique is under scrutiny, and so is his. If Kate Plays Christine is a decisively intellectual proposition, it functions as such mainly for its participants, or perhaps for its participant-in-chief. Robert Greene never transmits any indication of the purpose of his film's ponderous pondering, and the result is an intriguing documentary that is rarely anything more, and often rather a lot less, in how intriguingly opaque and downright silly it is wont to become. Many such films, this one included, make the viewer believe there's something profound being communicated, and that they ought to attune their attention to it; is it defensive to lay the blame on the film instead of oneself when that profundity remains largely uncommunicated? Kate Plays Christine raises rich, interesting ideas about the creation, consumption and manipulation of both art and reality, often intertwined, and indeed their manipulative effects, but it does so more in principle than in practice. Its very concept is its entire development of those themes, directing the viewer's thoughts toward these cerebral concerns yet stymieing any further flourishing. It's a dry, unyielding film that seems thoroughly disinterested in the process of establishing a meaningful connection with its audience, an approach that may have some thematic propriety but that either refuses or fails to convince us why. One must infer that it's wholly intentional that this supposed cerebrality is woefully undercut by Greene's self-aware re-enactments, but since it's hard to shine a spotlight on something that's not actually there, this ploy doesn't enhance our appreciation of the film's would-be virtues, it only lends it an additional quality of amateurishness. Greene may peer all he likes, but what does he see?