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Jess Weixler (#110 of 2)

BAMcinemaFest 2018 Aaron Schimberg’s Chained for Life

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BAMcinemaFest 2018: Aaron Schimberg’s Chained for Life

Cinereach

BAMcinemaFest 2018: Aaron Schimberg’s Chained for Life

From King Kong to Beauty and the Beast, films have often grappled with romances between pretty women and males who, well, let’s say, fail to adhere to cultural standards of attractiveness. The latest is writer-director Aaron Schimberg’s meta Chained for Life, set behind the scenes of a campy horror flick featuring half a cast of what Tod Browning would have called freaks. The film’s leading man is Rosenthal, played by Adam Pearson (previously seen in Under the Skin), an English actor who has neurofibromatosis, which causes tumors to grow around nerves. Rosenthal’s leading lady is Mabel (Jess Weixler), a friendly and earnest actress without any such condition.

Bite Me: Teeth

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Bite Me: <em>Teeth</em>
Bite Me: <em>Teeth</em>

Mitchell Lichtenstein’s debut feature Teeth, about a high school student who discovers she has a toothed vagina, reminded me of the first time I saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail as a teenager, particularly the scene in which the knight gets all of his limbs swiped off with a sword, blood spurting everywhere, the ground strewn with body parts. For weeks afterwards all it took was for a sadistic friend of mine to whisper, “It’s only a flesh wound,” and I’d be doubled over my desk in Spanish class, gasping for air. “Que es tu problema?” the teacher would ask, but I couldn’t answer in any language. Why the mere thought of severed limbs and fountains of blood flying across the screen could have me in stitches was beyond my capacity to explain. Of course, knowing I was exhibiting inappropriate behavior made me uncomfortable—but it did nothing to stop the giggles. Appropriately or not, the scenes in Teeth in which the heroine, Dawn (Jess Weixler, who has a young Laura Linney’s looks and acting chops) uses her “power” to exact revenge are as campy and funny as anything in Python’s Grail—or John Waters’ Female Trouble. Substitute dildos for prosthetic arms and legs and you get the picture.