Linda Stirling Unmasked: The Black Whip

: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.



The Year of the Fish:

The Year of The Fish: A lost generation captured, devoured, preserved

David Kaplan
Director, Editor, Writer

Plot: A Cinderella story set in New York City's Chinatown, Year of the Fish is a classic tale retold through the eyes of a young woman struggling to find a new life in the United States.

With many films it isn’t clear where the inspiration for the film came from But with The Year of the Fish, the subject is so disturbing that we know where the need to make this film originates. It is the uncomfortable reality of a part of New York City where the Chinese live their lives so separate from the Americans that it is uncomfortable to walk the streets, partake of their food, their services while subliminally aware of how different they are from us, their American customers.

David Kaplan responds to this tangible experience by mixing up fantasy and reality and doing it not just with content but by his method of interspersing cartoon figures and scenes with the real , the familiar scenes and real actors.

The identifiable image of the Fish,( and it was just the Chinese year of the Fish), reflected in the visual look of the people’s faces is clever but somewhat distracting. It seems that David Kaplan’s intent is to use the Cinderella tale to tell us all that we are fish swimming in a fish tank that we are outgrowing (because of our obesity) and soon we will be swimming in an ocean, a captive humanity waiting to be devoured and rescued, our cleaned bones to be placed in some God awful museum for preservation of a lost species or worse, to be grind down into tiny particles released into an all ready overcrowded atmosphere.

The over riding technique of this film, the juxtaposing of cartoon figures with real live people and scenes doesn’t encourage the emotional impact the film might otherwise have. This is a very serious, scary film when one contemplates the world according to David Kaplan’s recreation of today and of tomorrow, if there is one.

I recommend this film because it is unique, and because it has something important to say even though the actors, the characters are one dimensional good and bad and Cinderella is a fantasy I never truly embraced. For women Cinderella in rags or richness is not someone I aspire to be. But it is the fantasy image of the preservation of life into the future very much at odds with what David Kaplan offers when he and we look to the Fish to find what the future will bring.

Opening Labor Day Weekend, August 29, 2008 at the
Angelika Film Center in New York City

Linda Z
WBAI Women’s Collective

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