Watch: Unmappable, by Diane Hodson and Jasmine Luoma
Premiering online on Vimeo is Unmappable, a short documentary by Diane Hodson and Jasmine Luoma that presents a complicated portrait of an artist and sex offender. Here’s Whitney Mallett writing about the film previously for Filmmaker at the Atlanta Film Festival.
The short documentary Unmappable is a portrait of Denis Wood, whose poetic mapmaking challenges the distinction between art and cartography. He also had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy — a friend of his son’s who began living with the family — for which he spent 26 months in prison. Both the story and tone directors Diane Hodson and Jasmine Luoma employ feel borrowed from a public radio podcast, so it doesn’t seem jarring when, partway through, Ira Glass’s voice chimes in and we get a snippet of a 1998 This American Life interview with Wood. But while Wood’s sexual deviancy was and is public knowledge, Glass’s interview, like many others, ignored it and just focused on his mapmaking. Hodson and Luoma, on the other hand, present a well-rounded portrait of a narcissistic man, whose status as an ex-convict and sex offender is not in spite of his posturing as an intellectual; rather, both parts of his life stem from a deep-seeded anarchic bent. Most memorable is the way these meditations on boundaries are illustrated in a recurring trick of Wood’s — he scribbles a circle around an ant who struggles to escape from the pen-and-paper illusion of a confine.