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CLEAN, SHAVEN

USA, 1994 (MIFF 1995)

Director: Lodge Kerrigan


Rarely has a portrait of insanity been as suc­cessfully and disturbingly realised as in this remarkable feature debut by Lodge Kerrigan. The lead character's search for his missing daughter while plagued by hallucinations and under investigation for murder is presented through a fractured, somewhat minimalist narra­tive that serves as a perfect framework to mirror the destructive nature of schizophrenia.

Intense and graphic scenes powerfully commu­nicate the explosive psychological state of Peter Winter, played brilliantly and absolutely convinc­ingly by Peter Greene. The dialogue is sparse, but the soundtrack is so complex and engaging that it propels the film's imagery. The viewer is relent­lessly drawn into the gruesome masochistic action, which is never gratuitous even when it becomes almost unbearable to watch.

As a study of a schizoid, at times frighteningly bizarre, character the film is exacting and focused. The director has observed that the nar­rative serves only as an outline for this character study. But far from being an exercise or experi­ment, Kerrigan's film makes choices about story, camera work and editing which wholly support his intention to present a moving and unforget­table examination.

Clean, Shaven's production history is also remarkable, although certainly not unique. Shot over a period of two years financed in bits and pieces, the film is testimony to the dedication that singular efforts like this require. Cinematographer Teodoro Maniaci saw the project through and deserves high praise for its stark images and tight exact framing In spite of production interruptions, the film evidences no sign of any continuity problems. Even though its evolution may be typical, Clean, Shaven's impact and quality are certainly in a class by themselves.

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