Author: Lauren O'Neil Butler

Sue de Beer, the Quickening

Marianne Boesky Gallery, through Jan 10

Sue de Beer usually makes lush, sexy, frightening films based on female adolescence, but here she shifts to an exploration of the repression and release of a grown woman living in 1740s Connecticut. Manipulating montage, dream sequences, and nonsensical time and place, the artist presents disjointed cinematic scenarios more than a true plot. Psychedelic scenes pop up, as does a man playing with an inexplicable dream machine. The protagonist's tragic story romances as much as it disturbs - her pretty face, form, and free-flowing crimson blood make for beautiful imagery, and a heartbeat soundtrack adds visceral intimacy. As the narrator says at the film's close, "Beauty lives only in mystery - beauty is the mystery." (LM)