The Hollywood Reporter today reviewed WOW’s upcoming biographical documentary Wojnarowicz: F*ck You F*ggot F*cker, saying that director Chris McKim builds on audio and visual journals of David Wojnarowicz to capture the life and work of the downtown New York queer artist and AIDS activist.”
David Wojnarowicz, a key figure of the 1980s art movement that flowered in the pavement cracks of New York’s pre-gentrified East Village, died of AIDS in 1992 at age 37. But Chris McKim’s defiantly alive collage documentary, Wojnarowicz: F**k You F*ggot F**ker, is so charged with the words and images of the multimedia artist it could almost be considered self-portraiture, often recalling Jonathan Caouette’s remarkable docu-narrative hybrid Tarnation. Assembled from the photographs, paintings and audio and video journals that Wojnarowicz recorded for most of his life, this impassioned personal testament should continue the work of the Whitney Museum’s celebrated 2018 retrospective in amplifying a radical voice that remains urgent and relevant.
Produced by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s World of Wonder stable, whose documentary division has been a major source of queer culture commentary, the film will have its world premiere at DOC NYC’s 2020 virtual edition, running Nov. 11-19. (It was originally scheduled to debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.)
Calling the film “immersive,” they go on to say:
The director had access to an extraordinary archive of materials — not just Wojnarowicz’s journals, artworks, published monologues, super 8 films and undeveloped photographs, but even a trove of answering machine messages and recorded conversations, suggesting the instinct of an obsessive Proustian memoirist even from a young age. This continued as his artistic voice evolved: “All the paintings are diaries that I always saw as proof of my own existence,” he says at one point.
Snippets of home movies and photographs, as well as comments from his siblings, sketch his difficult upbringing in New Jersey with an abusive father. His mother moved them to Hell’s Kitchen in New York City when David was 11, but he frequently ran away, living in a halfway house and surviving as a gay street hustler during his teenage years.
The strength of McKim’s film, from the outset, is the extent to which he channels Wojnarowicz’s own perspective on these experiences. He effectively removes the distance between observer and subject, often emulating the mixed-media techniques the artist used, with helpful visual linkage here from animator Grant Nellessen and graphics and animation designer Good Radar. Edited by David Stanke with kinetic energy and a probing eye for detail, the package is appropriately scrappy and rough-edged, never slick.
So.. it’s a RAVE! Read the who review here!