Glenn here. Each Tuesday bringing you reviews of documentaries from theatres, festivals and on demand.
There is so much to unpack within Robert Greene’s Kate Plays Christine, not least of which is whether the film ought to be considered a documentary in the first place. Greene pushes the concept of documentary as a malleable construct that audiences should question the authenticity of much further than his previous 'non-fiction' work, Actress. This time by altogether abandoning reality, he calls into question everything we see in a documentary. By making the audience ask what is and is not real in Kate Plays Christine, Greene is essentially making us question what is real in any documentary and consider the motivations and mechanics behind them.
Audiences have no doubt asked these questions before in famously are-they-or-aren’t-they works of documentary like Catfish, Exit Through the Gift Shop, and even this year’s Tickled.
But those films, traditional narratives regardless of their factuality, are nothing on Kate Plays Christine. An altogether hypnotic film in which actress Kate Lyn Sheil sets about studying the life of Christine Chubbuck for a strange, absurdly amateur feature film about the seemingly forgotten Floridian newscaster who shot herself live on air in 1974 seemingly in an act of desperation and contempt for how far television news had succumbed to the mantra of “if it bleeds it leads”...