Call Her Applebroog
In 2016, Beth B completed her long-standing documentary film project about her mother, New York sculptor and painter Ida Applebroog. Call Her Applebroog is the complex portrait of an artist who preoccupies herself with her past. The sketches, paintings and diaries she has produced over many decades tell the story of a woman who found psychological and sexual freedom through her art. Now, aged over 80, she is prompted by the artistic and personal curiosity of her daughter to reappraise her own provocative early work.
»I made this film over the course of fifteen years. I hadn’t really intended to make a film about Ida. It was more like I was documenting her work. She really did not want to be filmed. She’s such a private person.
As time went on I started to realize this was my next passion project. I think it was only through the course of those many years that a different kind of trust developed. But still there were times when she got frightened. There was a time when she said, I want to be able to see it before it goes out. I want to be able to take something out if I don’t like it.
At first I said, sure. But I’ve never allowed anybody to do that. I realized I was editing and trying to mind-read her reaction at the same time. I wrote to her and said I really can’t make this film if I need your approval. Because then I’m not making the film from my point of view.
That’s really when the issue of trust loomed large for both of us. I said if you can’t trust me, who can you trust?«
Beth B exploded onto the New York film scene in the late 70s after receiving her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 1977. During her career, Beth B has produced over thirty films within the narrative, documentary and experimental genres. Her work has been shown at the Sundance Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Berlinale, Locarno Film Festival and in galleries and museums such as MoMA, the Whitney Biennial, the Tate Modern and the Centre Pompidou. Her films have been the subject of retrospectives at London’s National Film Theatre, the Danish Film Institute, the Montreal Film Festival and Lisbon’s Nucleo Dos Cineastas Independentes. Beth B’s work challenges society’s conventions, embraces the underdog and focuses on social issues and human rights
Films by Beth B (Selection)
Exposed 2013 | Breathe In/Breathe Out 2000 | Visiting Desire 1996 | Two Small Bodies 1994 | Salvation! 1987 | Vortex 1983 | The Trap Door 1981 | The Offenders 1980