Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Turning

The keening, otherworldly sound of Antony and The Johnsons provides the aural backdrop for this exploration of femininity in its myriad forms.

Nov 15, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1367508-Turning_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

It doesn’t get more cult than Charles Atlas's Turning, which records a collaboration between the director and androgynous singer/songwriter Antony Hegarty, which debuted at the Whitney Museum's 2004 Biennial. Behind Antony performing with his band, The Johnsons, there was a complexly assembled video backdrop featuring, in his words, “13 remarkable women,” transsexuals as well as actual females, individually striking poses for the duration of each song.

Atlas’ film takes the Biennial concept further with interviews between Antony and his models, who talk about their sexual orientations and various gender issues. Nascent childhood lesbian questioning, the fertilizing avant-garde art scene, as well as the urban transgender scene, the personal toll AIDS exacted on some interviewees, and individual empowerment are addressed. For the susceptible, a woozy spell and free-floating sense of dislocation are created with this oh-so-arty juxtaposition of live performance and talking heads, exacerbated by Antony’s spacily impassioned warbling.

For the less willing, the film may just seem another example of the art world’s “Emperor’s New Clothes” effect, a lot of elaborate fuss with a numbing rather than uplifting or particularly enlightening result. As such, Turning is enthusiastically recommended to die-hard fans of Antony’s music, provided they don’t mind their idol’s performance moments being parsed out between interviews, and those interested in revelations from the progressive sexual/transgendered front.


Film Review: Turning

The keening, otherworldly sound of Antony and The Johnsons provides the aural backdrop for this exploration of femininity in its myriad forms.

Nov 15, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1367508-Turning_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

It doesn’t get more cult than Charles Atlas's Turning, which records a collaboration between the director and androgynous singer/songwriter Antony Hegarty, which debuted at the Whitney Museum's 2004 Biennial. Behind Antony performing with his band, The Johnsons, there was a complexly assembled video backdrop featuring, in his words, “13 remarkable women,” transsexuals as well as actual females, individually striking poses for the duration of each song.

Atlas’ film takes the Biennial concept further with interviews between Antony and his models, who talk about their sexual orientations and various gender issues. Nascent childhood lesbian questioning, the fertilizing avant-garde art scene, as well as the urban transgender scene, the personal toll AIDS exacted on some interviewees, and individual empowerment are addressed. For the susceptible, a woozy spell and free-floating sense of dislocation are created with this oh-so-arty juxtaposition of live performance and talking heads, exacerbated by Antony’s spacily impassioned warbling.

For the less willing, the film may just seem another example of the art world’s “Emperor’s New Clothes” effect, a lot of elaborate fuss with a numbing rather than uplifting or particularly enlightening result. As such, Turning is enthusiastically recommended to die-hard fans of Antony’s music, provided they don’t mind their idol’s performance moments being parsed out between interviews, and those interested in revelations from the progressive sexual/transgendered front.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Food Chains
Film Review: Food Chains

Vitally important, infuriating exposé of the world of injustice behind the food you consume. More »

Monk with a Camera
Film Review: Monk With a Camera: The Life and Journey of Nicholas Vreeland

Enthralling and uplifting documentary about a man of the world turned monk, but one who effects real, inspiring change. More »

The Circle
Film Review: The Circle

Very strong, historically intriguing and important gay document is marred by intrusive real-life interview footage, which seriously breaks up the dramatic momentum. More »

babadook
Film Review: The Babadook

An intense, terrifying indie horror film with more on its mind than scaring its audience. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Hunger Games - Mockingjay Pt 1
Film Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Darker, less action-packed first half of the final installment of the popular franchise moves from arenas to rubble aplenty as Jennifer Lawrence’s super-heroine is called upon to serve her beleaguered and much-destroyed nation as propaganda instrument and leader. Fans of the books and previous two films get a less flashy palette here, but the engaging characters and strong story return to stir interest for the scheduled November 2015 finale. More »

Foxcatcher review
Film Review: Foxcatcher

Character is destiny in this masterfully controlled true-crime sports drama that will likely catapult Steve Carell into the Oscar race. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here