on land

on land

Deliver (excerpt)

7h ago
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2008, TRT 98 minutes, excerpt RT 10 minutes, HDV STARRING: Peggy Ahwesh, Jackie Goss, Su Friedrich, Meredith Root, Jennifer Montgomery, Dani Leventhal, Jenny Bass Cinematographers: Megan Frazer, Anneka Herre Sound: Joe Milutis Assistant Director: Jenny Bass Like a generation of viewers, I was profoundly affected by Deliverance. But I have always been troubled by the hegemonic structures of gender proposed by Boorman and Dickey. Hence, my version is played by women: myself, Peggy Ahwesh, Jackie Goss, Su Friedrich, and Meredith Root, all experimental filmmakers who work as academics. While faithful to our respective male characters, we also play ourselves. Provocative questions arise through these filters of similarity and difference. My film’s title, Deliver, refers to the re-birthing experience of surviving extreme physical challenges, the product-obsessed nature of the film industry, and, of course, the fact that it is only women who can, biologically, truly deliver. Unlike the Deep South setting of Deliverance, Deliver takes place in the Catskill Mountains. The group goes canoeing down a river, which is, believe it or not, called the Beaverkill. We are confronted by two local women armed with a shotgun, and one of us is sodomized. This is the moment when a seemingly simple exercise in gender inversion becomes complicated. In the original, the iconic male hillbillies’ hostility toward bourgeois men is based largely on land entitlement. Few women can claim that history of entitlement, and the Catskills are not hillbilly country. Most importantly, there is the false notion that women do not pose a sexual threat to one another. What, then, motivates this rape? At what point do we read it as an unconvincing imitation of a “real” rape? The lines between bathos and pathos become dangerously blurred. It is the aim of this film to pose critical questions about the gendering of nature, homosocial sexual violence, and the act of filmmaking itself.