What it Takes to Lay Your Problems Naked on Film—Literally

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."

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