Marie Losier's doc chronicles Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle founder Genesis Breyer P-Orridge's recent career and second marriage, both defined by P-Orridge's surgically aided transformation from a man who occasionally liked to dress as a girl into a "pandrogynous being" who shared physical characteristics (including a blond bob, artificially plumped lips, and breast implants) with wife Jacqueline Breyer, aka Lady Jaye. The defining aesthetic of P-Orridge's work comes out of the cut-up techniques of William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin, whose mentorship of Genesis is documented in Ballad. P-Orridge's deep romantic and creative bond with Jaye became both the site and the subject of his most elaborate radical collage, and Ballad is an homage to that collage, a nonlinear patchwork of Losier's intimate 16mm footage of the couple's home life (all of it captured without sync sound), threaded with archival material and documentation of art and music performances, glued together by Genesis's narration. This impressionistic approach eschews traditional biography, instead giving the viewer the feeling of being inside a moment—without necessarily providing all the information we might need to contextualize what we're seeing. Just as in her previous shorts (collaborations with Guy Maddin and the Kuchar brothers), Losier borrows stylistic signatures of her subject's work but always circles back to her own signature interest in the mutability of gender and sexuality.
Lady Jaye enjoys a dip.
Runs Fri., Sept. 7â€“Thurs., Sept. 13 at Northwest Film Forum. Not rated. 72 minutes.