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Edinburgh 2011. Whatever We Want to Be: Marie Losier's "The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye"

Marie Losier's documentary tells the story of a couple.
Marie Losier's documentary tells the story of a couple. They happen to comprise Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, industrial music pioneer of the bands Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, and Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge, performance artist and dominatrix, who made their relationship an art project, dressing alike and having plastic surgery to look more alike, but really it's just another couple movie.
Rather than making you think how strange the central duo are/were (Lady Jaye died, or "dropped her body", in 2007), the film really makes you think how strange all couples are, pairs of more or less damaged individuals (as all individuals are damaged) who have managed to align their broken edges and form some kind of mutant whole.
Using archive film and interviews, more or less entirely without sync sound, Losier, a specialist in profiling avant-garde musicians, artists and filmmakers, creates a colorful and frenetic object that nicely encapsulates P-Orridge's philosophy that "Everything is raw material." The central characters are an engaging and sweet pair with considerable screen magnetism (her nose job is perhaps more aesthetically pleasing than his breast implants), and P-Orridge's blissed-out smile and pixillated gaze have genuine comic charm. Admittedly, the claim that their "pandrogyny" project is a contribution to human evolution isn't really questioned or explored in depth, leaving you to wonder if that's a real argument or just an intriguing sound-bite. Two seats away from me at the Edinburgh International Film Festival screening, a strange man kept going "Mmm!" whenever anybody in the film said anything heartfelt and truthful, which was often. I guess the movie leaves little room for anything but agreement, since it's not really about the art and music (though all of that seemed both interesting and accessible) but simply celebrating the merging of two soul-mates.
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“…how strange all couples are, pairs of more or less damaged individuals (as all individuals are damaged) who have managed to align their broken edges and form some kind of mutant whole.” What a great observation! Totally true.
Thanks! I speak from experience.

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