Thomas Imbach at Anthology This Weekend

by tully
April 24, 2009 8:09 AM
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In addition to the continuing The Films of Shirley Clarke retrospective (read Cullen Gallagher's piece at Hammer to Nail if you haven't already), Anthology Films Archive is also unleashing Happiness is a Warm Gun: The Films of Thomas Imbach. The only film of Imbach's I've managed to see is 2001's Happiness is a Warm Gun, but based on that alone, this promises to deliver some of the weekend's most head-spinningly dazzling cinema. Based on the real life 1992 murder of German activist Petra Kelly by political ally Gert Bastian (who then killed himself), Happiness is a Warm Gun doesn't technically qualify as a biopic. While Imbach does include archival footage of Kelly in action, he sets his film nine years later, in a strange sort of purgatory as Kelly returns to Earth and reunites with Bastian and struggles to come to terms with his outrageous act. If this sounds complicated and strange, it very much is, but Imbach brings a sincerity to the table that makes his exploration more invigorating than overbearing. What could have felt exploitative in less mature hands instead feels pure and sincere. From the sounds of it, the rest of Imbach's work is as wildly inventive. I hope to see as much of it as I can.

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