Happy Friday. I’m super glad to be free of the week is over. I’m know I’ll end up having to work some this weekend, but the relief is still palpable. I’m exhausted and once again getting this post up rather late, so will have to wait until the weekend begins in earnest for some more multi-film viewing. For tonight’s single viewing, I once again delved into the expansive library of films by Black directors available on criterion.
Losing Ground (1982, Dir. Kathleen Collins)
I don’t honestly have a lot to say about today’s viewing. As underrepresented as Black people and women are in film making today, that fact that Kathleen Collins was able to make a feature film in 1982 was remarkable, but the gatekeeping in the system has hindered the film with its small budget devoid of a studio’s backing. The filming doesn’t look great, and the acting is rather stilted, but it’s doing its best with what it has.
While much of the film doesn’t work, I can see a lot of skill from Collins in both direction and writing. Using a student film as a metaphor for Sara (Secret Scott) and Victor (Bill Gunn)’s crumbling marriage works well and allows Sara’s frigid character to evolve. It also get’s her out of the house to allow Victor an excuse to revel in the sleaze that had been pretty clearly telegraphed. The fact that both leads are dealing with a midlife crisis in the midst of success in their chosen fields is another really interesting idea as opposed to more traditional midlife crisis stories.
Collins only made two films before she died of breast cancer at age 46. Given that her voice was the thing about Losing Ground that worked the best, it seems a shame that she wasn’t able to make another with more means. I know that she was also an acclaimed poet and playwright, but I would’ve loved to see her get behind the camera for a film with at least a modest budget.