MURDER and Murder

(Yvonne Rainer, USA, 1996)


When Yvonne Rainer was in Australia in 1990, she referred to herself publicly (and somewhat controversially, judging from the tut-tut response from staunch gender radicals) as a "lapsed heterosexual" and a "political lesbian".

Since then, however, she has "crossed the Rubicon" (as she puts it) and come out as lesbian. MURDER and Murder reflects upon this experience, as well as the trauma of discovering she had breast cancer.

Do not, however, expect a cleanly autobiographical tale of self-actualisation from Rainer. Cinema's cagiest mistress of identity politics sets out to complicate every fixed category of social and personal life.

MURDER and Murder, like all her films, unfolds like one of those dreams which are both a story and, superimposed, the zany auto-analysis of that story.

Although the main actors possess an immediate charm and sensuality new in Rainer's highly cerebral career, this is not among her best works.

Still, any student of the true American-independent movement dating from the '60s and '70s will want to follow this unique artist's evolution.

MORE Rainer: Journeys from Berlin/1971, Privilege

© Adrian Martin March 1999

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
home    reviews    essays    search