women in film & media
Production, distribution, reception
Anna Karina in Pierre le Fou
Stacie Passon's 'Concussion' heats up the same sex suburbs
Stacie Passon’s "Concussion" opens in San Francisco October 18, a well-crafted film produced by veteran Rose Troche. After a hit on the head, Abby (Robin Weigert) feels that her talents should be spread beyond working out in the gym with body conscious housewives, folding laundry or fielding questions from teachers who are afraid that other WASP mothers might think that Halloween is a sign of witchcraft. Add to that that her partner Kate (Julie Fain Lawrence) seems uninterested in her and miles away.
Sports help, but soon prove unviable. Abby starts noticing women on the street, and she decides to fix up a loft, one of six she has done already, with the help of friend Justin (Johnathan Tchaikovsky). She answers a personal ad. When that proves unviable, Justin sets her up with a woman named Gretchen, who works for 'The Girl' (dating Justin). "The Girl" (Emily Kinney) is in law school and just can’t get caught setting up sex dates for pay, so she disguises the "sales" in “decorator language”.
As a storyteller, Stacie Passon wastes no time, and rather than explaining everything in dialogue, her picture language is both economical and meaningful. The spaces in the interiors and the music by composer Barb Morrison is upscale. Contrasts between the darkness of the bourgeois home and the light of her loft make clear that enlightenment is on the outside not the inside of the confines of her stale marriage with two demanding children - a son who hit her in the head with a baseball and doesn’t respect limits and a daughter with lots of questions. Probably this bourgeois scenario is the kind that stifles marriages.
Abby (Weigert - absolutely brilliant in her role) embarks on a series of adventures with women she both pays for, and who pay her, for sex. She does this for enjoyment, not for money and she is good at it, probably the first thing she has been good at for a long time besides gentrifying lofts and working out.
Most of Abby and Kate’s friends are straight and ask invasive questions like “when did you know (you were a lesbian)", and it’s a safe predictable lesbian relationship of no great depth or interest. Only Abby is interesting because she understands the need to expand and grow. The couple seem to inhibit each other when they entertain and though they are free to express love to each other, Abby and Kate are not, in love.
So, Abby becomes a “hot dyke housewife” catering to young women. As Justin puts it, the young set "with their fathers' credit cards" - "looking for a mature situation".
"They buy you, you buy them, what’s the difference?", he adds.
As for Justin, “I’m your guy that sets things up”, the guy that takes a percentage of the credit card sales.
But .....Stacie Passon in the midst of all of this shows the preciousness of women who just want sex, younger women who have no experience, and older women who want some romance. Even a neighbor on the PTA, Junior League and Food Bank committee - the kind you meet in the supermarket in the canned good section.
With Abby’s interludes how will this all work out? That is the question for "Concussion" and Passon has some challenging and provocative answers.