Playing outside the boundaries of drama and documentary, this adventurous self-portrait of a 20-something artist and dancer asks the question, “if you could star in the film of your life, how would you rewrite the script?”
Screened as part of NZIFF 2020
With the explosion in popularity of docu-series centred on larger-than-life personalities, Vincent Boy Kars’ Drama Girl is a refreshing entry that toes the line between fantasy and non-fiction. Opening on leading lady Leyla de Muynck, we are introduced to the deceptively simple experiment: Leyla will play the title role in a film about her life.
As the film progresses, we understand Leyla has taken this opportunity to find closure from major life experiences that have stuck with her. But with ongoing input from behind the camera, one may begin to wonder how much agency Leyla has in retelling her own story. While the push and pull between star and director (largely) avoids confrontation, it does beg questions of authenticity, authorship and the ethical boundaries of documentary filmmaking. Alongside Kars’ interventions, could we as viewers be provoking Leyla for our own entertainment?
So is Kars’ film the critique of the medium he claims it to be, or is it a doco masquerading as an art piece? There are myriad ways to read the film. Whether you consider yourself a true cinephile or watch films for the simple joy of it, Drama Girl makes for a truly enjoyable, puzzling and entertaining watch. — Kailey Carruthers
About the Filmmaker
Vincent Boy Kars is a Dutch filmmaker whose films investigate identity, self-image and sexuality. His 2017 documentary Independent Boy also flirts with the borders between fiction and reality. Drama Girl is his second feature.