Strange Culture (2007)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Filmmaker Lynn Hershman-Leeson examines a strange miscarriage of justice amplified by post-9/11 hysteria in this imaginative fusion of documentary and docudrama. Steve Kurtz is an artist and political activist who was an associate professor at the State University of New York's Buffalo campus and a member of a politically oriented creative collective known as the Critical Art Ensemble. In the spring of 2004, Kurtz was preparing an installation of pieces commenting on the potential dangers of … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Drama, Special Interest
Directed By: ,
Written By: Lynn Hershman Leeson, Lynn Hershman-Leeson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 25, 2008



as Hope Kurtz

as Steve Kurtz

as Steve Kurtz

as Robert Ferrell

as Phil, Phil/Lynn Hers...
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Critic Reviews for Strange Culture

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (10)

As sad as it is to realize that youth activism in this country is dead, it's sadder still to find yourself agreeing that they have a point.

Full Review… | November 9, 2007
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Somewhere between documentary and dramatization, fact and impression, Strange Culture molds one manâ(TM)s tragedy into an engrossing narrative experiment.

October 5, 2007
New York Times
Top Critic

A terrible personal tragedy and a penetrating case study in the intolerance and paranoia that still surrounds avant-garde art in America.

Full Review… | October 4, 2007
Top Critic

Slipping in and out of character, variously embodying, studying, and commenting on their counterparts, the actors manage both dramatic reenactment and its deconstruction with aplomb.

Full Review… | October 2, 2007
Village Voice
Top Critic

Echoing the 2006 Oscar-winning German film The Lives of Others, Leeson's film is a scary testament to the power of fear.

Full Review… | September 14, 2007
Seattle Times
Top Critic

The real-life events chronicled in Strange Culture support the argument that the federal government is more inclined to create fear than contain it.

Full Review… | September 8, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Strange Culture


[font=Century Gothic]On May 11, 2004, SUNY Buffalo professor Steve Kurtz was preparing an exhibit for the Critical Art Ensemble at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art on genetically engineered food when his wife of 27 years, Hope, died suddenly. Authorities investigating at his home found petri dishes and legally purchased bacteria and - I believe the technical term is - freaked out and cried terrorism.[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]"Strange Culture" is a movie stemming from that incident which includes interviews, news footage and video that one person was clear-minded enough to have of their being subpoenaed but it mostly consists of reconstructions. Other recent films like "The Road to Guantanamo" and "Touching the Void" went a similar route, because talking heads could not capture the visual impact of those stories. Here, it is because Kurtz cannot discuss certain details pertaining to his case. So, he and his wife are portrayed respectively by Thomas Jay Ryan and Tilda Swinton who also comment as themselves.[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]The movie is doubly scary as it is not only about an innocent man being accused of terrorism but also shows how badly the FBI blundered through the case. But I am doubtful their interest in the case is because of Kurtz's activism against genetically engineered food.(Director Lynn Hershman-Leeson dealt with theoretical science in "Conceiving Ada" and "Teknolust.") And I am not sure how much of an issue genetically engineered food really is, but more information would not hurt.[/font]
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Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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