Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How Film Historians Erase Films - A Case Study: Let Me Die a Woman - Synapse vs Derann

In the liner notes accompanying Synapse Films' 2006 release of the 'Transgendered Edition' of Let Me Die a Woman (1978), Michael J. Bowen makes the claim that this version of the film "contain[s] footage never previously released on a video format". Unfortunately, however, Bowen does not then go on to explain exactly what this hitherto-unreleased footage actually depicts. In order to then attempt to ascertain precisely what footage is in the Synapse release but allegedly not in any other video release of the film, we thus decided to do a side-by-side comparison of said Synapse release and the earlier (1982) UK VHS release of the film by Derann Video.

What started out as a routine comparative expedition, however, soon inadvertently turned into a grim exposé of how film historians actively expunge films from cinematic record, literally striving to remove even the possibility of a film's existence, an astonishing ploy by which the film historian far surpasses the villainy of even the most diabolical film censor; for while the latter is generally content to merely snip out, here and there, portions of any given film, the former, operating under the veneer of seemingly benign cinematic scholarship, attempts nothing less than the excision of an existent film itself from the bowels of history by grandiloquently venturing to bend space-time to preclude the film from ever having been made in the first place.

But to return for the time being to the comparison at hand...