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Kamikaze Hearts
Institute of Contemporary Arts
2 people very close to the camera, one blonde person is staring directly at the other brunette person who is up against the wall
Kamikaze Hearts, dir. Juliette Bashore, USA 1986, 87 min., English.

Plenty of films play on the dividing line between fact and fiction, reality and rumours, but Juliet Bashore’s pioneering queer docufiction applied a particularly raw DIY vision to the form.

Kamikaze Hearts tells the story of Tigr Mennett and her real-life porn star girlfriend Sharon Mitchell, at the centre of San Francisco’s sex industry. Tigr is directing a parody of Carmen starring her partner, and filming is not going smoothly – manipulation, abuse, and the excesses of the adult entertainment world in the ’80s are everywhere on set. But present too, is tenderness and care. In the course of filming their relationship mutates and shifts, forever out of tactile reach for the audience, documentary and drama blurring between each other.

Bashore’s film is a multilayered document of a unique time and space where polysexuality, women’s liberation, punk rock and porn collapsed into each other, as radical and shocking today as it was forty years ago when first released.

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