Director: Robert Greene
4th Row Films/The Cinema Guild
In this intriguing mix of documentary, cinema vérité and stylised melodrama we see the actress Brandy Burre in less than domestic bliss. We know her from The Wire. Since then she’s been a stay-at-home mom, her choice; she walked away from the business to start a family.
But family life is so-so, her partner’s busy with his businesses – always out, and she’s got no chance to read scripts when there are bedrooms to tidy, meals to make, and spills to sort. She can hardly get her head straight let alone getting it around someone else’s world and words.
Burre might not have had any “real” acting jobs in a while but you wouldn’t know it with this tour de force performance where she plays herself up close and personal, in an uncomfortably intimate portrayal of her boring life.
She’s the wrong age to be getting back into the acting business, she’s got anxiety over being at home, but more about ditching the role as wife and mother, she’s concerned she’s been selfish, is being selfish – and then is also not being selfish enough. There’s also that baggage of being from The Wire, her business card, but it’s not working now as calling card. Blessing and curse.
It’s a complex web of emotions – and we get the no-makeup version of Burre and no mugging; this is all about the inertia and urban ennui, this is all about the guilt that comes from work/life balance, or imbalance. This is all about her – but it’s an ugly truth, even when stylised.
It’s a brave and honest performance – even through the intentionally deceiving medium of “documentary”. And a stark and beautiful film.
This is the human condition and self-imposed dark side. This is any parent’s battle. The insular walls that build, the resentment – and where to aim it. The internal war the artist wages on the person, the dull and bitter fight back.
And then of course – in this soul-baring performance, in this clever way of dealing with the problem, Brandy Burre has handed in one hell of an audition tape. You wouldn’t swap places with her, but the film might make you think about your dreams and schemes and where you’re placed and how you’ll deal with it all too.
A riveting version of documentary.
Actress is part of this year’s Documentary Edge Festival and will screen at Auckland’s Q Theatre, Fridays May 22 and May 29 as well as Monday, June 1 and at Wellington’s Roxy Cinema Friday June 5, Wednesday June 10 and Friday June 12.