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Six Filmmaker Picks for the 2014 Northside Film Festival

i hate myself :)

The Williamsburg-based Northside Film Festival is in swing this week with its typically eclectic mixture of pictures curated by various local film partners (including IFP, Filmmaker‘s publisher) as well as, for the DIY Competition, their in-house team. Below are seven picks for those on the L train this week. More details on these screenings can be found at the Northside site here.

i hate myself :). Any cultural critic namechecking Lana, Lena and Leslie (Jamison) while untangling the limits of autobiography, masochistic self-portrayal and the representation of female sexuality in the pornified internet age should reserve a paragraph or two for the lesser-known yet boldly provocative Joanna Arnow. Her i hate myself :) is a problematically compelling IED thrown into current conversations about female representation and authorship in today’s independent cinema. The autobiographical doc charts the filmmakers’ own emotionally masochistic relationship with a risible, quasi-racist (in a hipster “edgy” way) performance poet — and her attempts to seek parental approval for her representation of such. Foregrounding aspects of herself she previously “found shameful” in ways that seem alternately guileless and knowing, Arnow also touches something of a filmic third rail with her depiction of explicit sex — her own. (She explores that decision in this essay for Filmmaker.) Thursday, 8:45 PM.

The Babadook. Single motherhood is its own form of terror in this brilliant debut by Australian actress-turned-director Jennifer Kent. (Wednesday, 9:45 PM.) As I wrote in Filmmaker‘s coverage of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival:

Essie Davis (great) plays Amelia, raising her bad seed of a son in a house that’s all blue-grays and right out of an early cinema stage set. In the movie’s first act, we fear for the mother’s safety in the presence of her violent son, who is convinced the house is haunted by a demon arising from a genuinely creepy cut-out picture book. By the film’s third act, it’s he who we’re terrified for. The Shining by way of Jeanne Dielman — and better than The ConjuringThe Babadook invigorates the tropes of the demon horror film by using it to explore the theme of maternal love.

Homemakers. Yet another film with a bold, central female performance, Colin Healey’s IFP Narrative Lab selection Homemakers finds a bridge-burning Austin punk singer — played with feral intensity by Rachel McKeon — traveling to Pittsburgh to rebuild her grandfather’s distressed row house (and, by extension, her own life). Tuesday, 9:30 PM.

Summer of Blood. If you missed Onur Tukel’s mumblegore vampire pic when it played Tribeca, now’s your chance. And beware that slender man on the corner who wants to strike up a conversation as you leave the theater. Wednesday, 7:15 PM.

Flood Tide. Premiering in Torino last Fall, Todd Chandler’s hybrid tale of artists and musicians building a floating large sculptures down the Hudson River receives its New York premiere in Brooklyn this month after having screened as a work-in-progress and in concert form. Wednesday, 7:00 PM.

40 Years from Yesterday. 25 New Faces Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, whose work has crisscrossed narrative, doc and experimental film, premiere their debut fiction feature, 40 Years from Yesterday, an elegantly heartbreaking story of love, loss and the way our society deals with death. Tuesday, 7:30 PM.

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