You Killed Me First

Richard Kern (director, screenwriter, photographer)
Lung Leg, David Wojnarowicz, Karen Finley (starring)

New York: Deathtrap Films, 1986. Vintage portrait photograph of actress Lung Leg from the 1985 short film. INSCRIBED on the verso in director Richard Kern's hand, "Lung Leg / in / "You Killed Me First" / A R. Kern Movie / (copyright) 1986 / Photo (copyright) R Kern," with two "R. Kern Photographs" stamps and a "Deathtrap Films" stamp on the verso.

A landmark work in the Cinema of Transgression. Conceived by Kern and artist David Wojnarowicz as both a film and a multi-media art installation, the film was shot unscripted over two days, and was largely based on Wojnarowicz's childhood, specifically the scenes concerning the terrifying and abusive father, played by Wojnarowicz. Performance artist Karen Finley starred as the subservient mother, and the young East Village model Leg, who would go on to star in several more of Kern's films and music videos, starred as the lead, daughter Elisabeth/Cassandra. The film premiered at Wojnarowicz's "You Killed Me First Installation #8" at the Ground Zero Gallery in December 1985.

A seemingly normal family sits down for Thanksgiving dinner, and after a series of disturbing flashbacks revealing previous family traumas, the daughter shoots her family at the dinner table, angrily proclaiming, "You killed me first!" A scathing and darkly humorous indictment of petit-bourgeois conservatism and religiosity.

8 x 10 inches. Near Fine.

[Book #155122]