© Kate Plays Christine (2016) dir. Robert Greene / 4th Row Films
2016, 112 minutes
A reflection on the ethics of storytelling and the modern-day sensationalist spectacles that seem to have pervaded almost all the things we consume. At times infuriating and off-putting, this documentary nonetheless provides a singular look into the transformation of actress Kate Kate Lyn Sheilas as she prepares for the role of Christine Chubbuck, the first journalist to commit suicide live on television in the United States. As the film progresses, lines get blurred between performer and character until we are not exactly sure what or who we are watching: is it Kate being herself, Kate playing Kate the actress (her attitude changing in front of Greene’s camera as she makes clear in various instances throughout the film), Kate playing Christine, or Kate playing Kate playing Christine? The ever-changing nature of the performance we see on camera—enhanced by Kate’s obsessive and slippery slide down the rabbit hole—is unsettling at times, but ultimately provides a sobering reflection on what is true and what is false.