Almost two decades ago, I saw a little movie called Office Killer. When I say “little,” I don’t mean that it lacked style or attitude or impact. When I say “little,” I mean that it only grossed $76,000. By no means should this paltry sum indicate empty theaters, Molly Ringwald and Carol Kane and Jeanne Tripplehorn performing for miniscule ticket sales. Rather, the movie had no chance to make money because Miramax bought it and buried it – and buried it has remained to this day.
Until last Saturday, June 4th, when New York’s Film Forum theater screened Office Killer as part of a festival of female-directed films. Office Killer does not just star a lot of women, it was directed by the influential American photographer Cindy Sherman, as well.
All of which is to explain why Cindy Sherman and I hosted last Saturday’s screening. Cindy, because she directed the movie, and I, because I wrote the book. Cindy Sherman’s Office Killer: Another Kind of Monster, as I mentioned in my introduction to the film, is not just the definitive book about the movie, it’s the only book on the movie.
For whatever reason (and I speculate, in the book, about why), Miramax buried the movie, and it stayed that way, ignored despite the tremendous volume of text devoted to Sherman’s photographs. The popular refrain (and I heard it, over and over, at the Forum) was, “I had no idea this movie existed.”
In our digital media saturated life, when Netflix offers countless options, matched only by the trifecta of Amazon, Hulu, and actual television, it is easy for things to get lost. Which is why it was so fantastic for me to watch Office Killer in glorious 35mm in a sold out screening last Saturday, to hear the squeals and laughs and applause for which Office Killer is long overdue. And which is why I’m delighted that the Broad’s museum latest show, “Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life,” includes the film, right alongside her photographs, where it belongs.
And there’s my book, in the Broad gift shop, surrounded by books about her photographs, just as equally part of the conversation.
Some photos from the screening at the Film Forum last Saturday…
…some photos from last night’s opening at The Broad…
…and with the curator of “Imitation of Life” (Philip Kaiser, L) and one of the stars of Office Killer (Jeanne Tripplehorn, R).