Peggy Ahwesh has been behind the camera since the early '80s, at that time working out of the thrift store glamous of industrial Pittsburgh. Most often drawn to the immediate and the personal, Ahwesh's films combine hanging out and acting out with serendipitous occurances and telling details. Her characters are outspoken and the films talk back to the muffling zeitgeist.
Ahwesh's films are unparalleled documents and beautifully distilled essays about ruptures in human continuities. In the contrasts posed between childhood, adolescence and adulthood, we experience the beauty and pain, the consequence of knowledge and the submersion into the social. Ahwesh's films penetrate to the heart of American ritual in an unprecedented way. Some of the short stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne were able to reach into the transfiguring moments when an ossified Puritanism spilled over into shocking carnival-- exposing the hidden order of things and the true nature of it's celebrants. Ahwesh comes at similiar concerns from a unique perspective, unearthing the subterranean roots of sandbox antics, doll playing, bedroom dalliance and tantrums, tourist attractions, social gatherings and the SM rodeo of love relationships.
Ahwesh's films act as semi-guided tours that break all the rules of protocol--charting the off handed moments of impact--both the civilizing and transgressive elements that contribute to our social construction and private sense of self. The films identify and unglue some of our notions of romance, sexuality, violence, language. The bind that they leave us in is the bind of our own bodies, our inherited histories, our status as a partially occupied territory within the prevailing culture. These films celebrate also a truancy from that culture, a blistering that leads to disruption and self definition.
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