Xixax Film Forum

Film Discussion => This Year In Film => Topic started by: WorldForgot on May 29, 2022, 06:03:37 PM

Title: ACTORS (Betsey Brown)
Post by: WorldForgot on May 29, 2022, 06:03:37 PM
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMGJhMDYxNWItYWQ0ZC00MjYzLWIwYmMtNmY3YzkzNDExMzlhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzgyMjc3Mg@@._V1_.jpg)

Quoten this satirical docu-fiction hybrid, actor-filmmaker Peter Vack (Assholes) decides to re-identify as female to maintain relevance in the art and entertainment world. This horrifies Peter's sister (writer-director Betsey Brown) and makes her spiral deep into a mania of sibling rivalry as she desperately searches for her own artistic voice. A provocative cautionary tale of white cis male fragility and the lengths some will go to keep their seat at the table.

Technically premiered last year at a few festivals, but most people are just catching it now as it hit Australian Fantastic Fest a bit ago, NYC in February. Really fucking excited to see this at Brain Dead for the LA premiere.

Betsey Brown's directorial debut, after being the best part of Dasha's SCARY OF 61st. Co-starring Peter Vack (https://www.instagram.com/themasterofcum/?hl=en) of ASSHOLES (https://vinegarsyndrome.com/products/assholes-circle-collective)

Quote from: Lorry Kikta for Film ThreatRight now is probably the best and worst time to come out with something like this.
Title: Re: ACTORS (Betsey Brown)
Post by: Yes on May 29, 2022, 06:19:00 PM
She's great in Scary of 61st and Assholes, but the provocation in this seems mean-spirited and dangerous. This transphobic rhetoric doesn't need to continue. I would like to see this one day but I am very hesitant..
Title: Re: ACTORS (Betsey Brown)
Post by: WorldForgot on May 30, 2022, 09:36:01 AM
Most of the reviews I've read seem to be of the opinion that "Petra" Vack in it iz so explicitly an exploitation from Peter's character that the film never treats it as relevant to transitioning or a depiction of transitioning. I don't know if the most apt reference would be "Tootsie," or which film to say 'for example' - Some Like It Hot, perhaps? But it's made obvious by the screenplay/film that Peter iz somebody exploiting the construct of gender or their perceived gender, and the gamification of identity by industry, rather than somebody transitioning and all the characters are aware that Peter doesn't actually 'identify' as female.

One of my fav letterboxd comments; 'at one point he was giving Contrapoints'
Title: Re: ACTORS (Betsey Brown)
Post by: WorldForgot on June 02, 2022, 05:24:53 PM
Confirmation via the New York Times that ACTORS will be distributed by the "Ion Pack" podcast duo. (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/02/style/ion-pack-podcast.html)

QuoteIn addition to the podcast, the Ion Pack have come to be known for shambolic, line-around-the-block parties in New York, Los Angeles and at Art Basel in Miami at impromptu venues. They have organized standing-room-only film screenings, become in-demand moderators, hosts at events promoting films including Ms. Nekrasova's "The Scary of Sixty-First," and involuntary recipients of bitter film-world gossip in their Instagram DMs.

"They remind me of what I imagine the early 1980s no-wave scene to be like," said the director Eugene Kotlyarenko, who lives in Los Angeles. "Back when N.Y.C. was a place where music and film and art were all interacting in a single scene."

[...]

Of the Safdies, Mr. Pawley said: "We were making fun of the fandom they had spawned. And the rich New York kids who worshiped them, wanted to be them."

Mr. Kotlyarenko recalled the time that he was accused of being the Ion Pack. "Josh Safdie messaged me asking why I was trolling him so hard," he said. "I was like, 'I'm not, but don't you think it's pretty funny?'"

Eric Kohn, the executive editor of IndieWire, refused an invite to come on the podcast. A 2017 article in which Mr. Kohn wrote that the Safdie brothers "hacked" their way into Hollywood with "guerrilla filmmaking" was an early Ion Pack meme and became something of a running joke.

[...]

However, they were asked to organize the festival originally, after being approached by Hadrian Belove, a film programmer whose production company Play Nice financed the festival and is rumored to have some financial investment from Thiel Capital.

The pair declined Mr. Belove's offer, though they had agreed to participate in a conversation with the filmmaker Larry Clark ("Kids"), who ultimately had to bow out for health reasons. ("NPC fest loves Ion Pack and tried hard to make something work — but after their guest canceled I think it was all too tenuous for them," Mr. Belove wrote in a text message.)

The decision was less a politically motivated stance and more a gut feeling ("cursed" is the word Mr. Rothweiler and Mr. Pawley settled on). They rarely dwell on politics, preferring to fanboy.

"Their struggle with making work is what's so relatable to listeners," said Betsey Brown, an actress and filmmaker who is a regular listener, and occasional guest, of the pod.

Ms. Brown recently released a feature film, "Actors," which she wrote, directed and stars in alongside her brother, Peter Vack, who is a close friend of Mr. Rothweiler and Mr. Pawley.

In February, the pair arranged for an "Actors" screening, followed by an Ion Pack-hosted Q. and A., at the Roxy Cinema in TriBeCa. The screening sold out, as did five additional screenings. The success of each event, which Ms. Brown described as "fueled with loving energy," led her to ask Mr. Rothweiler and Mr. Pawley to distribute her film in North America.

Title: Re: ACTORS (Betsey Brown)
Post by: Axolotl on August 04, 2022, 04:48:06 AM
I'm not really familiar with the person who wrote this article but these people come across as so fucking vile that I can't imagine any sensible person wanting to be in the same room with them. People who publicly associate with this crowd are automatically suspect to me.

https://mcrumps.substack.com/p/my-own-dimes-square-fascist-humiliation
Title: Re: ACTORS (Betsey Brown)
Post by: WorldForgot on August 04, 2022, 09:37:45 AM
Axo, I hope this doesn't come off like me shrugging off whatever might have offended you here but I don't think I trust 'mcrumps.'  This comes off, to me, as either PR engineered by the ION Pack (previous articles on the same substack include the dude going to watch ACTORS at their invitation) or the sort of writing that Peter's film iz looking to instigate and canonize. I mean Eugene's highest accolade of the preceding project by Betsey, ACTORS, was calling it a 'provocation.' ION Pack and that memesphere iz obsessed with 'Dimes Square' and poking its scene-habitants..

QuoteThe review I wrote was scathing, but in a muted, almost defeated way that was the product of a writing process that went on much longer than I had intended. I had left the Roxy Cinema impressed with the importance I seemed to have as a writer, but I didn't realize how much the encounter with Betsey and Peter and the Ion Pack would throw me off in the writing process itself. I spent a lot of time going in circles trying to engage the film on their terms, avoiding the shockingly callous depiction of trans experience and trying to see it as a commentary on "acting and sibling rivalry," explaining away the initial shock and revulsion I felt before I had to swallow it for the encounter with the filmmakers. I realized that they were trying to guilt the New York media class into making this a thing—and since I was even more of a nobody than they were at the time, I almost fell for it by getting wrapped up myopically in trying to prove some point about careerist striving among the bougie art world set.

[...]


On July 22 I got the prompt from Curtis: "explain what you mean when you call things, particularly art, fascist in 60 seconds or less—in a way that would make sense to a person who doesn't have an MFA"

Holy shit, the 'Elite Troll' cameos are going to draw so many eyes.

One of the 'tells' I feel like iz this bit:

QuotePeter then turned to Betsey, who was still seated in the middle of the audience, right next to Dasha, who was still in anime girl makeup. He told her to tell me how she really felt about all this, and there was a pause, and then he insisted again. So Betsey turned to face me directly, straight down the row we were both sitting in. This was the peak of the psychedelic horror. Betsey started talking in her creepy baby voice, asking why I had written such mean things about her, saying that she thought we were such good friends after we had talked on the phone, asking why I betrayed her, why I said that her movie was transphobic when it really wasn't transphobic. It was the same uncanny affect that I had said was "interesting" when I was first pressed for my initial take on her movie back in April, and now I could tell that it was hardly "acting" at all. She said that it was because of my review that the Roxy Cinema had cancelled the screenings of her movie.

cuz pretty sure no screenings were cancelled, and obviously they especially wouldn't be cancelled by some substack.

QuoteNearby, tears began welling up in Honor's eyes, and the cameras then zoomed in on her. She was pressed to tell the crowd how she was feeling. She said that what I had just said had moved her, that when I had said I was so happy and proud of my work she realized she didn't feel the same about her own. I appreciated that she didn't join in the denunciations like the others. This began a transition in the mood of the theater, as if some of the people were starting to realize the true ugliness of what was going on. One of the Ion Pack guys (they were both masked) contributed to the de-escalation, saying that, just as I had been attacking an effigy in my review of Betsey's movie, perhaps the crowd was now attacking an effigy in me. I really don't think I was attacking an effigy in my review, but I appreciated the gesture.

I hope this take makes it into the movie lol
Title: Re: ACTORS (Betsey Brown)
Post by: Yes on August 04, 2022, 01:34:29 PM
I liked Scary of 61st but these guys hiding vile messaging and harmful rhetoric under the guise of art as though they're exempt from any criticism is so bizarre.

And why is it always transphobia these "artists" target? The Chappelle stuff is also similarly a weird hill to die on
Title: Re: ACTORS (Betsey Brown)
Post by: Axolotl on August 04, 2022, 02:38:00 PM
Quote from: WorldForgot on August 04, 2022, 09:37:45 AMAxo, I hope this doesn't come off like me shrugging off whatever might have offended you here but I don't think I trust 'mcrumps.'

I actually don't know anything about him and he writes like a complete blowhard. I've only seen him pop up on Twitter re- or quote-tweets about inane NYC stuff.

Even if the whole enterprise of this article and shoot are a viral AR game exercise it still demonstrates the essential hollowness of this scene and its undeniable reactionary bedrock.

Why should I give my time of day to someone who hangs out with Mencius Moldbug because it makes the libs squirm.

The transgressiveness excuse doesn't cut it. However much you want to intellectualize it or try to irony it away, you're not transgressive if you're being funded by Peter Thiel and your politics is the same as Tucker Carlson.
Title: Re: ACTORS (Betsey Brown)
Post by: WorldForgot on August 04, 2022, 02:48:35 PM
But what if the viral AR game shitpost movie turns out to be funny and interesting? Cuz here we're not even talking about the art separated from its artist debate right this iz more like art separated from its financier. If I did that for films I'd have to like wonder or research about the politics of way too many producers.
Title: Re: ACTORS (Betsey Brown)
Post by: Axolotl on August 04, 2022, 02:55:42 PM
Well I would not separate the art from its financier if the financier's whole project was to create popular culture which facilitated the creation of an ethnostate.

I'm actually quite on board with liking and defending good art financed and produced by racists if their beliefs were in line with the prevailing political environment of the time and the majority opinion of the enfranchised public. Similar to how I can appreciate some of
the lib imperialist Hollywood blockbusters these days or any movie made before 1970.
Title: Re: ACTORS (Betsey Brown)
Post by: Drenk on August 05, 2022, 05:46:18 AM
At first, I couldn't understand a word of this thread, it was eerie, then I grasped the name "Dasha" and everything came into place. These people are irremediably stupid and hollow; I didn't read the whole piece, but it has its sociological merits. It's sad that this that gang isn't even reacting against a real artistic movement, this is just internet reactionary drivel pretending to be avant-garde. They're fighting against their imaginary idea of what's the opposite side.

Also, they're transphobes because this is abstract enough for them (they have no idea of what the reality of being trans) yet somehow real (they can see people being trans and it is about SoCiEtY) to endlessly fuel their reactionary discourse—if J.K Rowling weren't a billionaire disconnected from the world, if she had, for example, used a public bathroom this century, she wouldn't be currently the most famous transphobic piece of shit known to mankind because she would live outside of a mental trashcan.

In a way, they're being bigots in the first place, then pretend that they're only bigots in reaction to the accusation of bigotry, and then it become their lives because they have nothing else to express.
Title: Re: ACTORS (Betsey Brown)
Post by: polkablues on August 05, 2022, 11:12:26 AM
When artists view art as A Scene rather than a vessel for self-expression, when in fact they have no true self to express, they will always fall back on provocation for provocation's sake.
Title: Re: ACTORS (Betsey Brown)
Post by: WorldForgot on August 05, 2022, 12:56:51 PM
And this morning on IG...
Title: Re: ACTORS (Betsey Brown)
Post by: BB on August 05, 2022, 04:49:44 PM
Yes, this is me right now. Rarely jump in but I saw the article posted on twitter, read some of it, then remembered the thread on Actors here and came to seek clarity. None was gained. Is it even possible to give an explanation in layman's terms? Or do I need to read all these articles, etc? Saw Scary of 61st (just cause I try to see a lot of stuff -- thought it was kinda interesting, know nothing of its background), don't know much about Red Scare beyond the name, that's where I'm coming from. This seems like something I should know a bit about but can't tell if it's worth investing the time and can't parse any of the details from my current vantage point.
Title: Re: ACTORS (Betsey Brown)
Post by: WorldForgot on August 05, 2022, 05:14:46 PM
Essentially a bunch of different 'alt' leftists or 'dirtbag leftists' who are possibly on the left, (but even that much and the (not self-given) 'dirtbag leftist' title/nomiker are debateable), but are definitely shitposter and podcaster types, emphasizing on the networking bit of social media, have put out to some success some funny  (https://vinegarsyndrome.com/products/assholes-circle-collective)and fringe-y films, like Scary of 61st. But their text is thin; if you figure that it's not enough to parrot and portray the subcultures that the net has let loose. Betsey's whole thing iz the ACTOR, the performance and body bit of it all - where as Peter Vack, her brother, iz bound to go even shitpostier.

And Vack's latest project is what the substack is about, www. rachelosmont. com.

The ION Pack is a podcaster network that has more output (these days) than Red Scare. You can trace these scene lines either around NYC or around the net - around the sort of edgey types that might coattail along as is listed in this substack's cameo ordeal.
Title: Re: ACTORS (Betsey Brown)
Post by: BB on August 05, 2022, 08:21:35 PM
Thanks! This and reading that whole article helped clarify things a bunch. Kinda reminds me of We Live In Public and that guy's whole deal.