Mon Feb 27, 2023 – 5:30 pm | Downtown Beloit Association
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A blisteringly hot summer day. Psychotherapist Ina notices something is wrong with her. But she doesn’t have time to worry about it: Patients are waiting at the practice, her daughter is threatening to move in with her father, her boyfriend wants to emigrate to Finland, and her self-centered mother is celebrating her 70th birthday. Ina wants to please everyone. But then everything changes.
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The Film Stage
Unlike the myriad similarly toned films that depict violence against women, the point of COMPULSUS is not the details of the attacks, it’s that they’re happening at all.
First, Wally has not suffered any violence herself. She has not been raped like Lisbeth Salander or The Bride. She has not experienced domestic abuse, or family molestation, or even a bad date. This isn’t trauma porn, wherein a woman must suffer in order to be angry, to want revenge. We are angry because we have reason to be. Full stop. A violent man’s motive is rarely questioned, and never justified, onscreen. It’s enough that the world has simply gotten him down—Joker proved this to the tune of a billion dollars.
Second, where many films—especially violence-based action films, but really most films—have an obligatory female character and a smattering of ornamental women, Compulsus deliberately removes men. All seven attack victims are played by the same male actor, whose face we never see, whose name(s) we never hear. Where the average movie erases women by not even considering them, we have removed men on purpose.
COMPULSUS—“striking together (hostile)”—is not lazily “gender-flipped,” which is not what we meant when we said we wanted to see stronger female characters. In its existence, staging, casting, and editing, it’s a complete subversion of the Loner Male stereotype. It lifts and centres women, and punishes and erases men.
Katharina Woll, born in Munich, went to Quito, Ecuador, after graduating from high school to assist a German documentary filmmaker. She studied film and theater studies, politics and art history in Erlangen, Munich and Buenos Aires. During her studies she interned and assisted Armin Petras at the Thalia Theater Hamburg and René Pollesch at the Münchner Kammerspiele. Along the way, she worked for a documentary film production. During her directing studies at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin, she realized several short feature films and documentaries, which were shown at numerous international festivals. In 2014 she went to Columbia University, New York for two months. Her feature film debut ALLE WOLLEN GELIEBT WERDEN premiered at the 2022 Munich Film Festival, where it received the Screenplay Award. Its international premiere was at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.