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Stories from the Genome, October 2

Genetic Screenings

Thursday, October 2, 2003
7:30 a.m. UNDEREXPOSED: THE TEMPLE OF THE FETUS
Kathy High (U.S., 1994)

Kathy High's audacious and pointed Underexposed, a hybrid of faux and fiction, looks at the emerging "fetal environment" and the effect of its incubating ideology for women desperate to fulfill societal expectations as childbearers. High's cross-genre drama follows the political awakening of a fictional TV journalist, Susan Tate, reporting on reproductive "options." Intercutting quirky clips from the annals of medical history with "real" interviews with medical experts, healthcare professionals, and patients, Tate's story unfolds in a near-future when the Department of Reproductive Ethics and Procedures (D-REP) has been established. A friend's techno-pregnancy becomes the basis for Tate's televised reportage on the official (and covertly eugenic) genetic agenda—egg retrieval and other biotechnologies employed to reinstall the status of women as breeders, at least until the need for their bodies can be eliminated altogether. Underexposed delivers.

—Steve Seid

• Written by Karen Malpede. Photographed by Jules Backus. With Peg Healey, Annie Sprinkle, Kate Anders, Peter Kors. (60 mins, Color/B&W, Video, From Video Data Bank)


Preceded by shorts:

Replication (Michael Goedecke, U.S., 2001). As cells divide and multiply, a pregnant woman is overwhelmed, then transmuted, by the process itself. (2:46 mins, Color, Video, From the artist)

Hatching Beauty
(Amy Hicks, U.S., 2001). Where do consumption and conception meet? In the marketplace, of course, as wryly illustrated by this quizzical work about a struggling mom and her ovule inventory. (10 mins, Color, 16mm, From the artist)

Stories from the Genome
(Rachel Mayeri, U.S., 2003). As the genome unravels, so too does the life of a biologist. In the interim, he narrates a number of beautifully rendered lectures on past misnomers. (12 mins, Color, Video, From the artist)

(Total running time: 85 mins)