USA, 1997 (MIFF 1997, International)

Director: Zack Winestine

States of Control is a portrait of one woman's quest for emotional and spiritual authenticity. Lisa's novel has stalled; husband Abe is impo­tent; Manhattan bohemia is sterile and suffocat­ing. Lisa's struggles to strip away her inhibitions drive the film in strange and alarming directions. Pornography, round-the-clock diary writing and romantic obsession are just some of the means by which Lisa tries to merge her desires and daily life. All methods are found lacking; she exhorts herself to, "Abolish pleasure, refuse cre­ativity. smash the imagination." Attracted to a theatre director who espouses a seductive neo-fascist zealotry, she isolates herself from Abe and friends and prepares to take the ultimate step to consummate her yearnings. What remains for Lisa beyond the convulsive climax remains an open question.

Drawing upon cinematic imagery from 1930s Germany, States of Control seethes with haunting subtexts. Mysticism flirts with social catastrophe; ecstasy finds sublime expression in fascist unity. Director Zack Winestine skilfully explores the vexed relationship between the mystical impulse and contemporary American life.

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