Made by and starring disfigured people, Aaron Schimberg’s dextrous, darkly comedic and hugely entertaining film-within-a-film makes you think about cinematic representation without offering simple resolutions.
Aaron Schimberg’s impressive second feature is his response, as a filmmaker with facial deformity, to cinematic portrayals of disfigured people, from Freaks to The Elephant Man. Simultaneously empathetic and sardonic, Chained for Life’s multi-layered narrative casts Jess Weixler (Teeth) as Mabel, a well intentioned Hollywood star. She takes the role of a blind woman in a hospital based horror movie about abnormalities, directed by an egomaniacal German auteur. As shooting progresses, Mabel gradually falls for friendly British co-star Rosenthal, played by Adam Pearson (Under The Skin), who has neurofibromatosis. Writer-director Schimberg challenges you to think about representation and exploitation whilst refusing to offer up any simplistic answers, while also paying homage to previous film-within-a-film-practitioners from Fassbinder to the Muppets.
This screening is followed by a Q&A with actor Adam Pearson.