Barbara Caspar

Who's Afraid of Kathy Acker? (2007), Jessica Andres and Brenna McGuire

Film biography/essay on the late writer, whose formally inventive novels, published from the ’70s through the mid-90s, challenged assumptions about gender roles, sexuality, and the literary canon.
A beguiling and intensely contradictory figure, Acker is best known for books which creatively appropriated texts from Great White Male writers, retelling them in an emotionally raw, sexually blunt, and politically questioning female voice.
And with her appearance in several conceptual art videos in the ’70s, her close-cropped dyed blond hair, her tattoos and her piercings, Acker was also performance artist, proto riot grrl, and living link to the transgressive authors of the ’50s and ’60s U.S. and French experimental fiction scenes.
Acker died of breast cancer in 1997 and now, just over ten years later, Caspar has made a film that captures the essence of both Acker the writer and Acker the person while arguing convincingly for the continuing relevance of her work today.