Filmmaker Joanna Arnow talks about putting herself in two of the most unflinchingly honest films in recent memory.
The metaphorical train wreck is a common movie plot device, to the point where Trainwreck itself became an Amy Schumer-penned film a couple years ago. Audiences just can't look away from these near-disaster stories. But what if that train wreck is your own life? In filmmaker Joanna Arnow's case, she took the impending implosion of a relationship as an opportunity to turn the camera around and press record.
Arnow's feature documentary, i hate myself 🙂, focuses on whether or not she should stay in a relationship with the provocative James, a slovenly white man who hosts a cringeworthy, borderline racist open mic night in the traditionally African-American cultural hub of Harlem. One of the film's storytelling tactics is transparency about its own process, including editing sessions that border on therapy with a fully nude editor, and a moment that can be excruciating for any filmmaker: showing edgy work to your parents.
"A lot of people told me not to make this film pretty early on."