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Give Me Pity (Film Review)

2 min read

Bulldog Film Distribution

Watching was a bit of a journey for this reviewer. It's a challenging film to watch, one that I couldn't say was enjoyable in the rawest sense. But it certainly is intellectually engaging.

However, because of its avant-garde nature, I asked myself, was it challenging because it was trying to be, or was I trying to ascribe meaning to it because of its lack of cohesion? Did I mistake a bunch of random airy-fairy nonsense for subtext?

Bulldog Film Distribution

The premise initially intrigued me. Give Me Pity revolves around Sissy St Claire (), a presumed 80s TV star, who gets her own television special. This type of show was common in the 80s and 90s, where beloved actors, comedians, and entertainers would perform, tell jokes, interact with the audience, and engage in various acts. It was a self-indulgent display for multi-talented performers.

In each scene, the superficial veneer is eventually stripped away, revealing a dark malevolence. Sissy delves into her deep insecurities, her desperate need to be seen and adored. What may start as a lighthearted monologue about impressions transforms into a desperate reflection of Sissy's self-hatred and her belief that she is desperate and unworthy.

Sophie Von Haselberg masterfully communicates the duality of her character. On one side, Sissy is talented and confident, while on the other, she is deeply unhappy with herself, incredibly insecure and ruthless.

Despite its relatively short runtime, Give Me Pity repeats its messages repeatedly, making it feel longer than it actually is. The vignettes or segments don't differ significantly, resulting in a sense of repetition.

Bulldog Film Distribution

Give Me Pity is undeniably interesting and deserves credit for its boldness. I appreciated the premise, the soft focus day-glo 80s setting, and the parody, grindhouse-y homage to 80s TV specials. Give Me Pity deliberately creates an unsettling atmosphere, from the jarring cuts to the visual glitches that distort the characters' faces into demonic expressions. The inclusion of a strange male sexual gaze, often during moments of Sissy's distress, adds to the overall feeling of anxiety. It's an audacious approach, and I assume it was intentional. However, personally, I didn't find it enjoyable. I admire the film for daring to be different, and I believe it achieved its intended goals, but it didn't offer enough variety to keep me engaged until the end.

Give Me Pity is in select cinemas from November 10.