Polari (aGLIFF) 2012
By Caitlyn Collins | October 11, 2012
Director: Eva Küpper
Starring: Jon Cory/Rose Wood
Jon Cory. Rose Wood. Rose Cory. Director Eva Küpper follows New York City performance artist and self-proclaimed gender-terrorist Jon Cory as he transforms into Rose Wood, his stage persona. Rose has many personalities and looks which are explored both on stage and off. Küpper introduces Cory/Wood as a severe character with a bright green wig, fishnet stockings, and barely covered breasts. This is a person hell-bent on achieving performance perfection. Slowly the wig is removed as is the heavy make-up and copious amounts of tape (use your imagination) to reveal Jon Cory, an almost soft-spoken yet intelligently opinionated man. A woodworker by trade, Cory performs five nights a week. Rose Wood performances are not for the squeamish. She often exposes her breasts, spits into the crowd and lifts bottles with one particular orifice (hint: not her mouth). Off stage, a make-up free Cory speaks directly into the camera about his motivations for pushing the envelope. There is something almost gentile in his delivery as he truly means no harm, never spitting more than water. His goal is to force the audience to react first and think later, hence the label of terrorist. Küpper is given intimate access into Cory’s life. His living quarter is a small closet in the back of the woodwork shop that spans the width of his outstretched arms. Every nook and cranny is filled with wigs, costumes and jewelry, all piled into boxes. The most interesting aspect of the film is Küpper’s capture of Cory’s greatest transformation, one of a surgical nature. His surgical enhancement further blurs the line between artist and performer, Jon Cory and Rose Wood, as well as gender identity. There is true confusion in the artist’s voice as he/she struggles with something as seemingly simplistic as a name. Küpper weaves in and around Cory’s life with genuine interest in her subject. Her camera work is somewhat shaky at times and there are moments in the story that are never fully understood, yet overall her captivation with Rose Cory, as the artist now prefers to be called, can’t help but draw in her audience.