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Sep 27, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Compiling Compulsion: The Pain of Others

Screening to be followed by a discussion with Penny Lane and Michael Wheaton

We’re excited to take a deep dive into the unseen, and overlooked compulsions that haunt our lives with two films from Director, Penny Lane.

We’ll open the night with Normal Appearances which Slate’s Christina Cauterucci describes as, “an eerie five-minute commentary on the performance of heterosexual desirability for an audience of millions…a creeping ooze of disobedient hair extensions, tottering wedge heels, and shoulder straps that refuse to stay put. As the video progresses, it starts to look like the women’s bodies are rejecting the trappings of consumerist femininity as if it were a transplanted organ.” This fan video / supercut of the women of #BachelorNation reflects the unsettling and painstaking awareness that underlies the performance of femininity.

This short will precede Lane’s lauded YouTube compilation film, The Pain of Others, about the sufferers of Morgellons, a mysterious illness described by the sufferers as parasites living under their skin. Tara Judah remarks in Senses of Cinema that, “whether Morgellons is about physical parasites living under the skin or psychosomatic parasites living in the mind, Lane shows us that the women genuinely suffer. In a sort of strange video self-therapy that suits the digital age, they have taken to the Internet to share their stories and find a community willing to believe them.”

We’re thrilled to have Penny Lane here in attendance following the program to discuss what attracted her toward compiling these compulsive behaviors, what it means to make an act of radical empathy and to host conversation around the films.


Normal Appearances

5 min., 2018

An unsettling supercut of the women of #BachelorNation watching themselves being watched. I guess it’s kind of like a fan vid, but weirder? Made in residence at The Wexner Center for the Arts.

The Pain of Others

71 min., 2018

The Pain of Others is a YouTube compilation film about Morgellons, a mysterious illness whose sufferers say they have parasites under the skin, long colored fibers emerging from lesions, and a host of other bizarre symptoms which sound borrowed from a horror film. The film carefully sets up a space of unsettling encounter with a group of “Morgies” who have turned to YouTube to find help and to prove they’re not crazy.  Intimate and unflinching, disturbing and at times funny – The Pain of Others attempts an act of radical empathy.

76 min

Penny Lane is an award-winning nonfiction filmmaker who was named one of Filmmaker Magazine‘s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” and a Chicken & Egg Breakthrough Award winner.

Penny has been awarded grants from the Sundance Institute, Catapult Film Fund, Creative Capital, Cinereach, TFI Documentary Fund, Jerome Foundation, LEF Foundation, NYSCA, Experimental Television Center, IFP and Puffin Foundation. She was named “Most Badass!” at the Iowa City Documentary Film Festival in 2009.

She received her MFA in Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her BA in American Culture and Media Studies at Vassar College. She has taught film, video and new media art at Bard College, Hampshire College and Williams College. She is currently an Associate Professor of Art and Art History at Colgate University, where she lives in a very old house and shows movies in her barn.

Michael G. Wheaton is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Barnard College, Columbia University. He is a licensed clinical psychologist in New York State and teaches classes in abnormal psychology and clinical psychology at Barnard. His research interests focus on the psychopathology and treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and OCD-related disorders, with a particular emphasis on behavioral therapy.

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Sep 27, 2018
7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Free – $10.00


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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