Director: Richard Kern
Time: 11 mins
Eye of Sound: Known to be an autobiographical film, The Evil Cameraman playfully narrates a transition in the life and career of NY cult filmmaker Richard Kern. Shot between 1987 and 1990, the film is divided in two pairs of two segments, each pair depicting a different historical, geographical, social and artistic context in Kern's trajectory. The first two segments, set in a bleak, low-lit past, introduce us to Jap Anne, an emaciated girl possibly to be included in the increasingly popular "barely legal" category, and Ice Queen, a lusciously cheap-looking blonde. Both are mercilessly subjected to the violent whims of this cameraman - none other than Kern himself - who seems to use his camera as a pretext for acting out his SM fantasies rather than the inverse. Though far from shocking by today's standards, these segments have a psychological - rather than scenic - realism that can be disturbing for viewers less tolerant of erotic violence. The last two segments, explicitly set "two years later", present Kern in a different context. Having moved out of the Lower East Side area, Kern abandons his leather-junky looks and virulent environment and moves in into a cleaner, brighter, more bourgeois ambiance. The women Kern is working with (Little Linda and Jacqui O) now look healthier, prettier and certainly more assertive about their right to reject the filmmaker's debauchery: they are, as John Rocco pointed out, "photographic models" - not partners or acquaintances ready to join Kern's previous porn play. As a result, Kern is repeatedly rejected and sent back into a professional or/and voyeuristic position. It could be argued, however, that there are some important continuities as well, and Foetus' soundtrack seems to underscore them. Indeed, the same combination of slow-dance "industrial" syncopated throbbing and controlled noise bleeding (characteristic of this hugely underrated band) permeates all the four segments, together with the SM imagery, suggesting that despite all those changes and the resigned frustration in Kern's face, the cameraman is just as evil as he ever was.