Amanda Kramer Introduces Her Film "Please Baby Please"

"My favorite cinema depicts worlds so unreal that they uncover profound meanings": Kramer presents a behind-the-scenes gallery from the set.
Amanda Kramer's Please Baby Please is showing exclusively on MUBI starting March 3, 2023, in the United States, and March 31, 2023, in most countries in the series The New Auteurs.
I wrote a film set in the 1950s, but I’ve never been interested in the preciousness most filmmakers project as that era's faux aura. Those delicate costumes and unironically kitschy props, that eerie “perfect museum”-like quality; I find it all terribly dull. The mid-to-late 20th century's rockabilly subculture offered us a much hipper, grittier, grimier version of that decade (from the look/sound/style of the Stray Cats, to Julien Temple's brilliant bonkers ’80s/’50s mash-up Absolute Beginners, to John Waters' horny, juvie-loving takedowns of postwar norms). I prefer façade and theatricality because I'm not intrigued by reality and never feel compelled to portray it. My favorite cinema depicts worlds so unreal that they uncover profound meanings far beyond any "authentic" account of life.
How to be profound and authentic about marriage.  
Marriage born from perverse societal pressure, marriage for the sake of traditional/religious imperative, marriage without a sense of possible ending, marriage as an answer to loneliness and aloneness—these are the antiquated illusions Arthur and Suze face as a modern couple living in a conventional time. They love each other. That's not in question. But why don't they have sex? Why do they feel like friends who are roommates, like siblings, like twins? Ida tells Suze it's because "that's marriage." And so the characters set out to rewrite the rules and realities of union, figuring out how to be happy and passionate, fulfilled and supportive while being their sincere selves. It's a contemporary notion—one my grandparents' generation never considered—but as monogamy and sexuality continue to bend and flow, I felt it was an important kind of time travel. Give this husband and wife an opportunity they would've never had —to feel out lust, follow fetish, redefine devotion and "holy matrimony." Grow individually in order to come together and find a different kind of forever love.
I crave the rare art that deals with men and masculinity as a thing to be examined, taken apart, poked at. A writer friend once wrote to me: there are a thousand works that deal with manliness as a given (here is John Wayne; he's a given) and slightly fewer but still plenty of works that acknowledge the fucked-up-ness of maleness ("Well it's terrible that men are these murdering machines, but that's what they are, and what are you going to do about it? That's men for you!"). But I'm hoping you feel something more honest, complex, penetrating after watching Please, Baby, Please. Especially in its tacit assertion of the extreme vulnerability that underlies so much of masculinity. The fact that being a man is a continual pissing match where you're constantly being evaluated with respect to your peers and so deathly afraid of revealing anything of yourself that would have you labeled "a pussy.”
I am of course critiquing this, while also honoring the allure of masculinity—these dumb, angry violent, vulnerable-inside men are fascinating and intoxicating and a thing Hollywood has always been drawn to, because wanting to fuck and/or be Marlon Brando is inescapable for many of us. I hope you find pleasure in this colorful and libidinous intersection of hyper-masculine and hyper-gay. I hope you feel like seeing more theater, more fantasy, more cool shit in filmmaking. Because—beyond MUBI—it’s not so cool out there. And that’s the absolute, unrelenting pits. Watching art cinema has become a radical act; you are now a radical; thank you.  


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