I just ripped this one this morning.
Things Behind the Sun is an excellent movie, but one so intensely personal that it is uncomfortable to watch. Writer/Director Alison Anders was raped when she was 12 years old, then brutally manhandled by a stepfather until she ran away from home at 17. This period in her life left her damaged in many ways, and she has probably struggled to cope with and understand the damage to this very day. She took all of the outrage and sadness about her interrupted childhood and put it into this semi-autobiographical movie. Your emotional reaction to this film will be even further intensified when you realize that the rape in the film was shot in the very same house in which the director was actually raped as a child. Talk about drama as catharsis.
Kim Dickens plays the rape victim, the character who serves as Anders's alter ego. She's the lead singer of a garage band which has started to attract some notice on college radio stations because of a cult hit which is really about the rape incident. The group has become famous enough to attract the attention of a magazine like Rolling Stone. One of the magazine's writers realizes that he knew the lead singer when they were children, and endeavors to write the definitive article about her burgeoning career. In reality, he had once been her best friend in childhood, and was later one of the boys who raped her. His big brother engineered the rape, and forced the younger brother to participate after the older boys were finished. The brutal incident affected him as much as it affected the rape victim. As we join in on the present time, he has never been able to make love to a woman at all, and she has spent her adult life getting drunk and re-enacting the rape with multiple strangers.
When the writer arrives to begin the interviews, he realizes that the woman doesn't remember anything about their childhood friendship, and has repressed all specific memories of the rape itself. The singer thinks at first that his real agenda is simply her music, so her attitude toward him keeps shifting as more and more is revealed.
Note: There are a few childhood scenes shown during flashbacks, the main flashback is nearer the end of the film where we see the harrowing depiction a 12 year old girl being assaulted.
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