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Let's Play Prisoners

USA, 1988 (MIFF 1991, New York Experimental)

Director: Julie Zando

The tape examines the relation between power and love. Power is a substitute for love, or love is feigned when a subject feels that she has lost power. Conversely, powerlessness is a strategy for attracting love (in so far as love is defined as having control over another).

In Let's Play Prisoners, Zando directs two performers, a nine-year-old girl and a 30-odd-year-old woman (Jo Anstey), in how they are to tell a story, written by Anstey, directly to the camera. The story describes a childhood "best-friends" relationship which is highly - but not unusually - sadomasochistic. Zando intercuts home movies of mothers and daughters and bits of a rescanned porn movie (a woman's naked body bending and spreading) with the acting sessions, in which the relationship of director to performers replicates the psychological dynamic of the story. - Amy Taubin, Village Voice


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