Tribeca 2023 Review: CHASING CHASING AMY Chases Queer Representation
Sav Rodgers confronts the legacy of Kevin Smith's rom-com, intertwining a personal journey of self-discovery while venturing into the dark side behind the film.
Revisiting cinematic legacies has become a genre unto itself.
In 2021, the Tribeca Film Festival showcased Eddie Martin's documentary The Kids, a behind-the-scenes expose of Larry Clark's cult classic, revealing a web of collective trauma, exploitation, and victimhood. This year's edition shines a similar spotlight on Kevin Smith's cherished yet problematic rom-com Chasing Amy, all through the lens of director Sav Rodgers.
Rodgers gained viral attention following a TED talk where he credited the film with saving his life as a queer kid. His talk resonated widely, even prompting Kevin Smith to reach out.
The same film, however, has been criticized for presenting a cishet white man's conception of queer life that lacks genuine representation. Elizabeth Sankey's docu-essay Romantic Comedy critiques the mainstream film industry's skewered LGBTQ+ representation, with Chasing Amy among its examples.
In Chasing Chasing Amy, Rodgers provides his personal take, inviting interviewees who echo these sentiments, notably Guinevere Turner. Detailing his life before and after the film, Rodgers documents his personal transition journey. The film's legacy is examined from multiple perspectives, with contributions from those involved in its creation, including Smith himself.
Rodgers' film embraces a complex reality where personal, cultural, and historical perspectives coexist. Smith divulges some of the reasoning behind the story's decisions. In one respect, Chasing Chasing Amy is a warm tribute to one of Smith's finest works (alongside Dogma).
Yet, it also explores wider contexts, scrutinizing the film's position and legacy against industry norms of the period. Smith, often candid in Q&A sessions, discusses the film in relation to his career and its cultural moment, even addressing the Chasing Amy sequel included in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
Chasing Chasing Amy isn't merely a fan movie nor a harsh exposé. It's a balanced portrayal of Rodgers' self-discovery and acceptance journey encapsulated in the film project. Cinematically, it's a fitting companion to Sankey's Romantic Comedy, standing alone as an autobiographical portrait of self-claiming and owning one's identity.
However, considering the background of Smith's career, the film opens a can of worms, particularly when Joey Lauren Adams appears. Rodgers astutely reserves Adams' segment for later, her anticipated appearance gradually hinted at by other interviewees, creating an engaging tension.
When she does appear, Adams doesn't shy away from the dark side of the film, notably its ties to the disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, a topic previously untouched. Adams' candor about her experiences and career, juxtaposed with Rodgers' personal connection to the film, brings vulnerability and resilience into the film's thematic forefront and from different angles.
Chasing Chasing Amy
- Sav Rodgers
- Sav Rodgers
- Joey Lauren Adams
- Andrew Ahn
- Trish Bendix