Tender, erotic, and pathetic, this reconstructed narrative examines the obsession to chronicle the details of an adulterous affair. Suitcase of Love and Shame is a mesmerizing collage woven from 60 hours of reel-to-reel audiotape discovered in a suitcase purchased on eBay. Recorded in the 1960’s, a Mid-western woman and her lover become reliant on recording devises to document and memorialize their affair. The film suggestively foregrounds the tape recorder as the confidant, witness, and participant that the couple come to depend on — always omnipresent, the recorder creates a welcomed ménage-à-trois.
The film uses this rare audio example to critically examine a time in the United States when it was exceptional to listen to the contradictory words of those who secretly and exuberantly lived a lie while publicly constraining their passion. Mirroring the compulsion to confess ones indiscretions in today’s virtual world and illuminating the impact that new technology – portable recording devises, had on their lives.
Suitcase of Love and Shame aims at a cross-generational consciousness about exhibitionism, privacy and voyeurism. Focusing on the aural and experiential nature of the audio the imagery in the film is restrained – abstract, evocative and expectant, so that the audience will see with their ears. The listener/viewer is variously located within and outside of the events – complicit and voyeuristic. The “eavesdropping viewer” compelled despite feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable with the knowledge and access they have been given and the transgressions they imagine they see.
70 minutes – 2013
Institutional, University and Library purchase through Cinema Guild.