"Kate Plays Christine": @PlaysChristine is one of the best documentaries of the year

1970s TV Reporter Christine Chubbuck was infamously known as the reporter that shot herself on TV while delivering the news. This year’s Sundance gave us not one, but two immaculate portraits of the mysterious woman, whose life story still remains a bit muddy. Not much actual video footage can be found of Chubbuck and the infamous suicide video has been locked out in a vault somewhere with no sign of it ever coming out. Kate Lynn Sheil and Rebecca Hall both played Christine — Sheil in a gratifyingly original documentary and Hall in Antonio Campos’ intense film. The fact that both movie managed to come out of Sundance as one of the very best reviewed films of the fest shows just how fascinating of a story this is.

Campos' "Christine" is coming out later this fall, but will be screening as part of the 41st Toronto International Film Festival. I will be there and have an interview lined up with Rebecca Hall, who is most likely Oscar-bound for her incredible performance.







"Kate Plays Christine"is the first of the two to get released. The doc is a behind the scenes look at actress Kate Lyn Sheil preparing to portray the role of Chubbuck. This in turn becomes an indelibly thoughtful meditation on acting and storytelling. You have never seen a doc quite like this one. But what the film ultimately finds fascinating is our meta obsession with tragedy. Chubbuck's story is a tragedy that has sadly not been deftly told or investigated by anyone. Until now. Sheil is followed by director Robert Greene's camera as she researches her role. It's the discovery of her character that ultimately becomes the core of the story. Why did Chubbuck kill herself on live television? What inner-demons were brewing in her sensitive head? The twists are too juicy to reveal, but "Kate Plays Christine" ends up playing like some kind of twisted, fascinating morality tale for our times.

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