Director Robert Greene and actress Kate Lyn Sheil blur fiction and reality as they investigate and reconstruct the story of newscaster Christine Chubbuck, who infamously committed suicide live on-air in 1974.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2016
This mesmerising meta-documentary from innovative US filmmaker Robert Greene follows actress Kate Lyn Sheil (The Color Wheel, House of Cards) as she prepares for the role of Christine Chubbuck, a real-life 70s Florida newscaster whose on-air suicide is said to have inspired Sidney Lumet’s Network but has largely been forgotten.
“Fascinated by the performative as well as the psychological dimensions of this fatal display, Greene and Sheil traveled to Sarasota, Florida, to the scene of Chubbuck’s death, to learn about her life and to make a film in which the actress would attempt to portray a woman whose motivations and mindset remain all but irretrievable from the tides of time (even an infamous videotape of the incident is said to be under lock and key)… In the absence of tangible documentation, Greene has enlisted Sheil as both a physical representation of Chubbuck and a cinematic cipher for the reimagining of her psychology…
As Sheil immerses herself in the role, her own misgivings about the responsibility of her performance… begin to take a noticeable toll, though it’s never quite clear if what we’re witnessing is Kate playing Christine, or Kate playing Kate playing Christine, or simply Kate herself.
By burrowing past the more sensational aspects of Chubbuck’s story to the more troubling nuances of her psyche (and how those same feelings can manifest in any one of us), Greene and Sheil have fashioned a more holistic and sympathetic portrait of Chubbuck than any straight fiction could ever hope to.” — Jordan Cronk, Sight & Sound