Charles Atlas’ documentary chronicles the 2006 critically acclaimed world tour of “Turning,” a live performance piece combining Antony and the Johnsons’ music with Atlas’ giant video projections of women, mounted on a revolving platform. In the original theatrical production, the women were eerily silent; in the docu, however, the women’s interviews, conducted by an off-camera Antony Hegarty, provide another platform for them to express their self-constructed feminine identity, the show’s trance-y mysticism giving way to a more earthbound sense of a female collective. Bowing Nov. 16 at Gotham’s IFC Center, “Turning” will attract fans of musically and sexually alternative fare.Originally presented as part of the Whitney’s 2004 Bicentennial Exhibition, Hegarty’s gentle, fluttery songs and Atlas’ video projections weave an obsessive, artifice-filled spell around the notion of gender. The 13 women, all born or made New Yorkers — all born or made women — of various ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds, lose none of their mystique by being captured “behind the scenes,” traipsing through airports or meticulously applying weird makeup. Rather, they reveal themselves as more conscious, integral parts of a spectacle that unfolds to hypnotic effect.
A Turning Film, Bullitt Film presentation in association with Beofilm with the support of the Danish Film Institute. Produced by Vibeke Vogel, Lucy Sexton. Directed by Charles Atlas.
Camera (color, HD), Gavin Elder; editor, Asa Mossberg; music, Antony Hegarty. Reviewed at Doc NYC, Nov. 11, 2012. Running time: 78 MIN.
Antony Hegarty, Joanna Constantine, Catrina Delapena, Honey Dijon, Eliza Douglas, Connie Fleming, Joey Gabriel, Joie Iacono, Stacey Mark, Nomi, Kembra Pfahler, Morisane Sunny Shroma, Julia Yasuda.