D. Smith’s “Kokomo City” and Claire Simon’s “Our Body”
By LARB Radio HourAugust 4, 2023
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An LARB Radio Hour double feature. In the first half of the show Eric Newman speaks to D. Smith about her new documentary—and directorial debut—Kokomo City. The film turns an intimate lens onto the lives of four Black transgender sex workers in Atlanta and New York, revealing their everyday experience alongside probing conversations about the intersections of gender, sexuality, and race as they struggle to survive and find acceptance within the Black community and a world at large that too often confronts them with derision, shame, and violence. Then, in the second half of the show, Kate Wolf is joined by filmmaker Claire Simon to discuss her new documentary, Our Body, which is shot entirely in the gynecology unit of a public hospital in Paris. Simon shows the many patients within at every stage of life: they manage unexpected pregnancies, transitioning genders, endometriosis, infertility, breast and reproductive cancer, birth, and death. The film lends itself to looking at individual bodies as part of a bigger organism—both within the hospital and society at large—and it gently questions the limits of autonomy, the power differential between doctors and patients, the hopes we have for our futures, and the fears and comfort we find when facing the end.
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