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Damned If You Don't


Script, direction, camera, editing, and sound editing by Su Friedrich. Script consulting and set decoration by Cathy Quinlan. Production managing by Peggy Ahwesh.

Produced by grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Jerome Foundation and the DAAD.

16mm, b&w
42 minutes

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"Damned If You Don't is a real prize. Beautifully shot in black and white, it blends conventional narrative technique with impressionistic camerawork, symbols and voicovers to create an intimate study of sexual expression and repression. It begins with footage from a stylish old potboiler about an isolated convent, whose tale of passions leashed and unleashed provides the leitmotif for a young lesbian who watches it and the lonely nun she pursues and seduces.

As the two women's lives come closer to joining, voiceovers from the biography of a 16th century lesbian nun and the reminiscences of a woman's closeted romances at a Catholic school flesh out the theme. When the two women finally meet and make love, the woman's careful unwrapping of the nun's complicated prison of clothing is both foreplay and liberating metaphor. The film is as hypnotic as a dream."
—Andrew Rasanen, BAY WINDOWS

Selected Film Festival Screenings and Awards:
BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM, 1990 Athens Film Festival
1989 Whitney Biennial, NY; 10eme Festivale Internationale des Filmes des Femmes, Creteil, France; Festival of Festivals, Toronto; Flaherty Film Festival, NY; First Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Budapest; London Gay and Lesbian Film Festival; Virginia Festival of American Film, Charlottesville; First Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Budapest; Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, Taiwan; Third International Festival of Films by Women, Montreal; “Filmmor” Women’s Film Festival, Turkey

The Nun: Peggy Healey
The Other Woman: Ela Troyano
Voiceovers by Makea McDonald, Martina Siebert and Cathy Quinlan





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