Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Departments/Programs

Film and Media Studies

First Advisor

Marty Lucas

Second Advisor

Ricardo Miranda Zuniga

Third Advisor

Tami Gold

Academic Program Adviser

Andrew Lund

Abstract

Through the Looking Glass: Marie Antoinette, the Mafia & the Buddhais a short documentary film that recounts six chapters from the autobiography of Marie Antoinette. No, not that last Queen of France who got her head chopped off. This Marie Antoinette lives in Woodstock, NY (“but I do like cake!” says Marie from inside her shop). And yes, Marie Antoinette is her real name. She is 78 years old and she sells what she calls “wearable art” out of a ramshackle and overstuffed boutique in town. Marie is facing the possible closure of her shop: her 100-year-old landlord has just relinquished his ownership of the building. “What am I gonna do with all this stuff?” Marie wonders as she surveys the diorama-like installation of jackets, trinkets, toys, pop schlock and other pinkish ephemera. “It’s more than a shop...” she insists, “it’s a feeling!”

Exploring themes of family, honor, tradition, mothers, daughters, creativity, bliss and belonging, Through the Looking Glassoffers a collage-like portrait of a collage-like artist who is facing a particularly introspective moment in her life. We are invited to spend a day in the shop with Marie Antoinette as she evaluates the breadth and power of her madcap talents and as she considers her life’s work and her life story – and stresses the difference between the two. All the while Marie offers us bits of her unique philosophy: gurus, honor, truth-seeking, family traditions, secret messages, karmic loops, escape, liberation and rebirth. In each successive chapter, Marie entrusts us with more details about her life and her art, and her collages start to resonate with meaning as Marie unpacks deeper cycles of deliverance, confinement, isolation and self-emancipation.

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