Read in the context of the recent U.S. presidential election, Jackie (Pablo Larraín, 2016) and Christine (Antonio Campos, 2016) inspire important questions about how women are remembered and valued in political and media culture. Jackie explores Jacqueline Kennedy's orchestration of President Kennedy's funeral and legacy, and in so doing provides an inauspicious reminder of how long and how easily Americans have conflated celebrity and politics, how willingly that national audience has embraced national images over national substance. Christine, also organized around one woman's mediation of a violent death (in this case her own), recreates Christine Chubbuck's world in the weeks leading up to her on-air suicide not to explain her actions but to frame the questions that suicide leaves behind. Both films revisit and revise the biopic genre and its inherent limits while also illustrating its political potential. While Jacqueline Kennedy was already part of the U.S. cultural pantheon and Christine Chubbuck was not, both of their biopics use violence, death, and the questions they leave to help viewers think about the ways that women are and are not remembered, let alone mythologized, in an enduring patriarchy.
On Platforms: Telling Her Story
Caetlin Benson-Allott is Associate Professor of English and Film and Media Studies at Georgetown University. She is the author of Remote Control (Bloomsbury, 2015) and Killer Tapes and Shattered Screens: Video Spectatorship from VHS to File Sharing (University of California Press, 2013).
- Views Icon Views
- PDF LinkPDF
- Share Icon Share
- Tools Icon Tools
- Search Site
Caetlin Benson-Allott; On Platforms: Telling Her Story. Film Quarterly 1 June 2017; 70 (4): 88–92. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2017.70.4.88
Download citation file: