Academic journal article Framework

Aggressive Genius

Academic journal article Framework

Aggressive Genius

Article excerpt

Roxie Pays Tribute to Curt McDowell


The Roxie Cinema will offer a two-day tribute to Curt McDowell Oct 7-8. Neatly divided into four different bills of shorts at 7 p.m. and features at 9 p.m., the items are strong, funny and, no real surprise, still timely.

McDowell died of AIDS in 1987. According to the executor of his estate, Roxie co-manager Marc Donaldson the filmmaker was George Kuchar's first student at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1973.

He was sitting there on the desk when George walked in Donaldson said recently. "They soon became lovers and collaborators, with George making welcome cameos in many of Curt's films, as well as, often enough, penning the hilarious screenplays.

McDowell, like all worthy filmmakers, puts up there on the silver screen what he'd like to see, his own fascinations. In his case, the fascinations tended toward the sensual and sexual. "Curt was obsessed with sex," Donaldson said.

Loads, a film late in his output, finds McDowell's goofy dabbling in camp and fairly straightforward narrative deepened and expanded into something strikingly original and daring.

Deliberate Obscenity

Loads consists of semidocumentary interviews with and filmic seductions of a group of "straight" pickups, hired like "actors for a fee, upon whom Curt performs a variety of explicit sexual acts. The film is an aggressive act of genius. McDowell makes it deliberately obscene, with no pussyfooting around what "is in the eye of the beholder" and all that crap. As if anticipating the .whole post-AIDS, Helms/NEA brouhaha about What is or isn't indecent, McDowell goes gung ho into an embrace of the bawdy and salacious for its own exuberant and liberating sake. …

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