New York (Wisconsin Premiere)
Running Time: 10 minutes
Screening Time: Saturday September 10th, 3:30PM
When SAM (25) catches JACOB (60) painting another woman at his studio, the young stripper realizes that she has been replaced as his muse and lover. Sam’s subsequent attempts to win Jacob back fail. Even her promiscuous behavior at the strip club does not provoke Jacob to change his mind. At the pier overlooking Manhattan by night, Sam both visually and emotionally gains perspective. Standing by the river she realizes the destructive nature of their relationship. In a covert, nocturnal operation, Sam breaks into Jacob’s apartment on a mission to free herself from his grip and gaze.
I believe that the work we produce as artists is to a certain degree autobiographical. And even though I have yet to break into a lover’s apartment, I know what it feels like to be consumed by a man’s perception. In all my films to date, I explore strong yet fragile female characters that ultimately succeed in taking charge of their emotions and destiny. What happens when life is uprooted by a breakup, an unhappy marriage, a failed job opportunity or an addiction? How do we as modern women find our way to self-acceptance? My stories tend to exhibit a degree of self-hate and masochism but their outcome is a positive one. Nothing is more liberating than finding your place in life and being at ease with who you are.
In The Painted Lady, Sam goes on such a journey. In the beginning of the film she is consumed by the way Jacob sees and paints her. His vision and version of her is empowering and addictive. One of my favorite moments in the film is when Sam stands at the pier overlooking NYC by night. It is cold and she is lonely and then suddenly she starts laughing. Life can be brutal but taking on a different perspective makes her realize that life isn’t that bad after all. Sam’s emotional shift is put into action in the final scene. By destroying/repainting Jacob’s portrait of her, she reclaims her self-image. Sam is now no longer dependent on Jacob’s gaze. She is free.