Strange Culture
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Filmmaker Lynn Hershman-Leeson examines a strange miscarriage of justice amplified by post-9/11 hysteria in this imaginative fusion of documentary and docudrama. Steve Kurtz is an artist and political activist who was an associate professor at the State University of New York's Buffalo campus and a member of a politically oriented creative collective known as the Critical Art Ensemble. In the spring of 2004, Kurtz was preparing an installation of pieces commenting on the potential dangers of genetically modified foods for the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art when his wife, Hope… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"As sad as it is to realize that youth activism in this country is dead, it's sadder still to find yourself agreeing that they have a point."
‑ Carina Chocano, Los Angeles Times
"Slipping in and out of character, variously embodying, studying, and commenting on their counterparts, the actors manage both dramatic reenactment and its deconstruction with aplomb."
‑ Nathan Lee, Village Voice
"A real-life nightmare scene out of Kafka."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Hershman-Leeson makes no attempt to obtain viewpoints from anyone other thanthe victims' perspectives, but on the other hand, the facts speak rather loudlyfor themselves."
‑ Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"A timely wakeup call - Kurtz's own '5/11' as he terms his personal nightmare - to remind us just how dangerous and threatening the terrorism of the US government is right now, towards its own people."
‑ Prairie Miller, WBAI Web Radio
"Somewhere between documentary and dramatization, fact and impression, Strange Culture molds one manâ(TM)s tragedy into an engrossing narrative experiment."
‑ Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
"Echoing the 2006 Oscar-winning German film The Lives of Others, Leeson's film is a scary testament to the power of fear."
‑ John Hartl, Seattle Times
"...[this film is] a slightly surreal reflection of what must have been the post-2004 experience of being Steve Kurtz."
‑ Sarah Boslaugh, Playback:stl
"Crossing conventional boundaries of dramatization and documentary, Hershman Leeson's movie makes Kurtz's case available to "broader audience.""
‑ Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
"[The] experimental touches, such as dramatic re-creations with Thomas Ryan Adams and Tilda Swinton playing Steve and Hope, distract from the issues at hand."
‑ Sean Means, Salt Lake Tribune
"A terrible personal tragedy and a penetrating case study in the intolerance and paranoia that still surrounds avant-garde art in America."
‑ Andrew O'Hehir,
"The real-life events chronicled in Strange Culture support the argument that the federal government is more inclined to create fear than contain it."
‑ J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"Outrage overkill that gives as much weight to the government trashing Steve's house and locking his cat in the attic as it does their desecration of the First Amendment."
‑ Amy Nicholson, I.E. Weekly
"As disjointed and affected as Hershman-Leeson's other work, the film nevertheless efficiently illustrates how internal paranoia is employed to silence art and dissent."
‑ Fernando F. Croce, Slant Magazine
"A chilling example of how an average person's liberties can be curtailed in the era of the Patriot Act."
‑ Bill White, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
More reviews for Strange Culture on Rotten Tomatoes