Very sad to hear that the great American underground filmmaker and video artist George Kuchar passed away on September 6.
There’s lots of information available about him online, but I wanted to share an abridged version of an essay I wrote on Kuchar’s video diaries from the 1980s and 1990s for my MA thesis in film and video studies at York University, Toronto (finished 2004). Kuchar’s unique worldview was totally foundational to my appreciation of queer moving images, and he will be sorely missed.
Truth Wrapped in Trash and Vice Versa
George Kuchar found poetry in the gap between American life and Hollywood, between our painful, banal, shame-laced lives and the promises of beauty, success and fame offered by our cinematic mythmakers. Kuchar’s practice offers a model of a transformative way of seeing others with an empathy based on a shared sense of failure and shame. Through his cinematic gaze, Kuchar democratized glamour and imagemaking while creating an affecting persona from artifice and trash.