(Be)coming through Kara Lynch’s Lens

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kara lynch

Kara Lynch’s “The Outing” short films were presented at Beirut’s Bardo’s Pub and Restaurant on Thursday, November 19th at 7 p.m. as part of their weekly movie night.

Mi Companera”, a 12-minute experimental film shot on Hi-8 recreates a walk  along the shores of Colombia. Two women open up to each other, their voices are heard though they are never seen. Instead the viewer is overwhelmed by patterns of tile, walls, sand and sea. In this environment, they question their identity, coming out and skin color. They open up about their privileges in the U.S. There is a constant feeling of rupture, this return to Colombia from the U.S. and being warned about going home and guerrilla warfare; a rupture in the relationship where one loves, the other hates; the disappointment and anticipation of being alone. There’s the question of coming out, the personal and intimate versus the political and public. There’s a rupture in this dual identity, this constant feeling of awkward, inability to fit in different spaces. It is so natural for the film to be dedicated to June Jordan, a personality on the crossroads of identities and to whom the above questions were essential.

In her second short film, shot in super 8mm and Hi-8 entitled “Me-Ba; I’m Coming”, panoramic views, a bus ride and the voice-over recreate a trip between Ouagadougou and Accra. The trip is an unveiling of identities. The voice presents herself as a white black boy girl as it slowly comes out between recollections of conversations, dialogues, meetings and scenery. The women in Lynch’s film are hidden behind voices or shown in vague silhouettes of haunted photographs but mostly, they are always on the verge, on the border of the frame, looking form the corner of their eye. The voice recalls a dialogue: “What can you do for women? You don’t have penis, you use hands! I don’t!” The dialogues and encounters raise the questions of race and gender, a voice-over as a rhythm for the images of super 8mm, a voice-over to shed the light on a struggle, on questions so anchored in a state of being, being a woman, a woman different from other women, a woman blurring the lines.

Lynch’s films are a travelogue, a questioning of identities, a discovery of the self. They are haunted by fractures and sometimes chaotic rhythm, this push and pull of out and in, of yes and no. A tide, a wave, that image of the dock constantly shown in “Mi Companera”.

Shant is a half-breed in a mutation process. She enjoys her coffee with a few drops of amaretto and her pickles with hot cocoa. She also has compulsive movie-watching binges, which make her speak in movie quotes. She fancies punk cabaret and lives her life pretending it’s an ongoing edit of a film.

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