Hold Me While I’m Naked (1966), directed by New Yorker George Kuchar is an avant-garde film that features on the 1001. The film is available on Youtube (the film is supposedly 17 minutes long, but the versions I could find were only 15), so check it out here before the review if you would like. Or read on for my thoughts before taking the plunge, though be warned I will be giving my own reading of what occurs in the film. Not spoilers as such, just what I took from the film.
Like any avant-garde film worth its salt, Hold Me While I’m Naked does not make a whole lot of narrative sense, at least not in conventional terms. It is up to the individual viewer to interpret the images presented in their own way. I found that the film was a comment on the filmmaking process itself and the manner in which a film is constructed. It is also the psychological journey of a filmmaker as he struggles with the troubles of finishing his movie. His obsessions and hang-ups are both affected by and affect his attempts to complete the film. Obviously, if you wish to watch the film with an open mind then that is the best way to approach it. But if you are looking for a way into the film, consider the aspects and even iconography (there is wonderful shot of a character literally drowning in film) of filmmaking on display. As well as the broader themes of filmmaking, the movie also comments on the specific role of the director as a ‘man apart’. There is a great sequence that shows this isolation as he showers alone, juxtaposed with images of a passionate, ecstatically lustful couple in the shower. This reading of the film is all my own of course and there are numerous other ones, about identity to give just one example.
Technically the film is hyperkinetic. The sharp, jumpy editing (which is really well done) combined with the music gets the film racing along in a couple of different directions. This is no shoddy looking backyard production. When it wants to look fantastic, the film does so. Even the opening credits look fantastic. The film is disconcerting to look at though when one is desensitised from watching mainstream film. It all feels delightfully different, with hyperstylised colours and an abrupt manner of conveying the viewer from image to image.
Hold Me While I’m Naked worked for me as a mish mash of images that provoked thought. Be warned, that if you watch the film, you will need to put in some work to put the images in order and glean your own meaning from them. There is enough filmmaking panache here to make that a worthwhile exercise to invest your time in though.
Verdict: Stubby of Reschs
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