Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Bunny Game

Photograph: Adam Rehmeier
In a piece in the Sunday Times Arts and Leisure Section about how far directors and in this cases actresses will go to create horror (“Testing Horror’s Threshold for Pain,” NYT, 9/14/12), Erik Piepenburg remarks, “Rodleen Getsic—who endured unspeakable acts while shooting the film ‘The Bunny Game’—is no mere scream queen. Ms. Getsic, 37, plays a prostitute abducted by a crazed truck drive (Jeff Renfro), who drugs and strips her and chains her inside his rig. For the rest of the film’s 76-minute running time he sexually assaults her; slaps and spits on her; shaves her head; drags her, in a grotesque rabbit-shaped hood that gives the film its title, on a leash through the desert. There are other indignities as well, but in the film’s most brutal scene the actress is actually branded on her back.” The question is what is the demographic for such a film? Back in the 70’s a movie called Snuff, purported to depict in a no holds barred way the murderous exploits of a gang of real bikers. Snuff targeted necrophiliacs the same way, from a marketing point of view, Pasolini’s Salo, would have been a sure thing for coprophilia oriented focus groups. The conceptual artist Chris Burden literally crucified himself for the sake of art in his piece Trans-fixed (l974) and the penectomy in In the Realm of the Senses could have be blamed for stimulating a copy cat crime if Lorena Bobbitt had been a student of  Japanese film. Was Adam Rehmeier, who directed the The Bunny Game, aiming to appeal to the audience of pimps described in some of Nicholas Kristof’s journalistic exposes, the kind of pimps who think nothing about branding a young girl’s cheek? On the art side are we playing to ever growing followings of self-mutilators like Marina Abramovic, who might have cut off her penis for art, if only she’d had one? 

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