GET YOUR FREAK ON
Mary Kuryla sent an email saying that it’s the last weekend for her indie feature Freak Weather at New York’s Pioneer Theater — fans of transgressive feminist portrayals of what Village Voice critic C. Carr once dubbed “the unsocialized woman” should check out this hard-edged film.
Here’s what Kuryla herself wrote about her pic:
FREAK WEATHER seems to finally have come into its own. The film’s punk sensibilities and irreverent, self-destructive protagonist, PENNY, strikes a chord with viewers in their twenties, in particular. Penny seems to express their own ambivalence toward the responsibility of parenting and ownership. Her foolhardiness in love, her rebellious engagement with untruths, her self aggrandizing — and finally, her hurt over childhood injuries overlooked and consequent sublimation of this hurt into drugs and partying — may well reflect an anti-authority stance that appears to be steadily growing out there.
Berenice Reyneau wrote in Cahier du cinema that Penny is like a female Jack Kerouac. Younger audiences tell me they’ve never seen a story about this type of woman on screen before. They seem relieved to see something of their own anxieties and waywardness and hostility to the powers that be expressed on screen, without judgment, but with a wicked and dark humor instead.
The ever-present question of whether Penny is sympathetic seems beside the point with this audience. Raised on reality programming, they are not put off by seeing their rreality reflected back to them. If anything, they expect it, in all its ugly and amusing truth. Absent is this dread of having one’s flaws exposed, even for female audience members. They seems to understand better than previous generations that in standing by and building on their limits, or flaws, they gain in strength.
FREAK WEATHER began as a seven-page short story that I wrote in order to grapple with my desire for a character who has an immediacy and almost violent urgency. I wanted the feeling of falling into the middle of a story that’s already out of control. I think the film delivers on this impulse.