Remember title sequences? Beatrice Behn and Rene Gebhart’s documentary The Artist and the Pervert has one of those and it’s for the books. It shows the two titular subjects, Georg Friedrich Haas and Mollena Lee Williams. They’re naked and are in front of clothesline that looks like sheet music.
This is frank and bold. The directors made an interesting decision to show their subjects without clothes. We don’t even know what they do for a living. They are both sexual and intellectual human beings. Behn and Gebhart decided to show the former when most people consider the latter more ‘palatable’.
Georg is a composer and Mollena is a kink educator, nebulous prospects in both their financial and social aspects. What makes their pairing more complex is that both practice BDSM, Mollena being the sub in their marriage. As a reminder, black women in vanilla marriages white men are still controversial.
As an LGBT person whose trying to get his foot in the door into intellectual circles, watching them is inspiring. It’s equally disheartening to see the hate they get from the intellectual circles where Georg belongs. The doc dismantles the assumption that creative circles have tolerance for ‘different’ people.
The movie uses both animation and talking heads to explore both subjects’ stories and how they arrived into BDSM. Georg’s path into his sexuality is rockier as a survivor of child abuse from his parents. This is going to make bigots assume things about BDSM, which Mollena dismantles.
The title sequence and the animation are here and they’re a feast. However, the only other times the directors do something exciting visually is when musicians play Georg’s work. But then static shots and archive footage are enough to show Mollena say amazing things. Like about the best cunnilingus she got.
Hot Docs is showing The Artist and the Pervert at the Scotiabank Theatre on April 27, 2018 at 8:30 PM. They’re also showing it at the Hart House Theatre on April 29th at 11:45 AM. Last screening is also at the Hart House Theatre on May 4th at 6:30 PM.