This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

1Jun/19

BROOKLYN FILM FESTIVAL: USE ME

Humiliatrix Ceara Lynch and filmmaker Julian Shaw play fictionalized versions of themselves in Use Me

Humiliatrix Ceara Lynch and filmmaker Julian Shaw play fictionalized versions of themselves in Use Me

USE ME (Julian Shaw, 2019)
Sunday, June 2, Wythe Hotel, 80 Wythe Ave. at North Eleventh St., 7:00
Monday, June 3, Windmill Studios, 300 Kingsland Ave., 8:30
Festival runs May 31 - June 9
www.brooklynfilmfestival.org

Fiction and reality collide in kinky ways in Julian Shaw’s thriller Use Me, making its world premiere at the twenty-second annual Brooklyn Film Festival. New Zealand-born director Shaw initially set out to make a documentary about Ceara Lynch, a professional humiliatrix who welcomes people to her website by proclaiming, “Here you will find a wide array of fetish and femdom POV videos specially designed to exacerbate your inexplicable urge to have a pretty girl ruin your life.” Ultimately, he decided to create a fictionalized tale in which it is often difficult to tell what is real and what is not. Lynch makes her living by humiliating men, who pay for the privilege; the film’s original title was Ruin Me. Shaw and Lynch, and various other characters, play themselves as he delves into her salacious business of sexual obsession. She has a clear set of guidelines, but when they breach a few key ground rules, Shaw finds himself trapped in a dangerous nightmare involving Lynch, her client Luke Adore (Joseph Reitman), and her protégée Princess Cassie (Jazlyn Yoder).

Shaw (Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story, Cup of Dreams) keeps the viewer off balance all the way, both through the use of shaky handheld cameras and his appropriately uncomfortable performance; he has noted in interviews that even he sometimes didn’t realize what scenes were completely made up and what was more real. The twists pile up, leading to a surprising conclusion as Shaw examines various forms of addiction, including the director’s need to film everything; he never turns the camera off, no matter what commitments he’s made to himself or others. Use Me is screening June 2 at 7:00 at the Wythe Hotel and June 3 at 8:30 at Windmill Studios, followed by Q&As with Shaw and others. The Brooklyn Film Festival continues through June 9 with such other works as Dustin Feneley’s Stray, Kristian Gianfreda’s Only Good Things, and Zhang Zhonghua’s The Home in the Tree.

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