Without You, I’m Nothing

Screening on Film
Directed by John Boskovich.
US, 1990, 35mm, color, 89 min.
Print source: HFA

Q is for Queer Renegades

In the tradition of such performance-to-film translations as Jonathan Demme’s celebrated collaboration with Spalding Gray on Swimming to Cambodia, John Boskovich’s film adaptation of Sandra Bernhard’s acclaimed one-woman stage show brings new perspective to the original work. Paying homage to such diverse talents as Nina Simone, Burt Bachrach, and Prince, Bernhard sings, snipes, and poses her way through this soul-searching exposé of her own celebrity and those she loves and despises. Set in a dreamlike Los Angeles nightclub, Bernhard is both bitingly funny and painfully honest as she challenges widely-held conceptions of racial and sexual identity. The limitations of the stage frame are overcome by Boskovich’s inventive camera movements and outrageous costume design.

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Cinema A–Z: Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive