Chasing Chasing Amy is a beautifully made documentary about a filmmaker’s journey while making a documentary about Chasing Amy.
It’s one thing for a making-of documentary but this is something else. Filmmaker Sav Rodgers discovered Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy when he was 12 years old and it changed his very life. There are many other films starring Ben Affleck but Rodgers would repeatedly watch this film. It’s enough that he would do a TED Talk on the film and later connect with Kevin Smith and more. To say that the 1997 film had a great impact would not be an understatement. In any event, the documentary explores the film’s greater role in LGBTQ culture. Rodgers explores the film’s legacy against the likes of Go Fish, which had been written by a lesbian filmmaker. That Smith made a film about a lesbian through the cishet gaze is a part of an ongoing controversy. But hey, if it helps save someone’s life, that counts for something, right?!?
One major development happens during the making of this film, which dates back to 2018. During an off-camera moment with Smith, the filmmaker came out as a transgender man. It’s at this very moment when the documentary becomes something more than it’s original intent. This moment has an even greater impact on Rodgers and his personal life. Going into the film, he was a queer filmmaker and in a relationship with his girlfriend, who was out as a lesbian. Would there relationship be strong enough to survive? The fact that this film took a while to finish–a pandemic doesn’t help–also means that it is premiering after both Jay and Silent Bob Reboot and Clerks III. The former allows for a semi-sequel to the 1997 movie, which probably does not happen without Kevin McCarthy.
Rodgers visits the very places where Smith and company filmed over 25 years earlier. One cannot make any sort of Kevin Smith-related documentary without visiting the Quick Stop from Clerks. Other sites in the film include Jack’s Music Shoppe, which is not too far from Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. As for other featured locations, I highly recommend watching the film.
Even though Smith wrote and directed a film through a cishet gaze, this doc shows the greater impact that it had on LGBTQ people. It speaks to the importance of what it means to have representation on the big screen. Ask a trans person how often they truly felt represented in the 1990s. My guess is it won’t be a high number. I’ve been very open about my own journey to coming out as transgender–increased representation in the 1990s would have definitely helped. A documentary like this is more important now especially with fascist conservative politicians like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are making an effort to silence us.
Chasing Chasing Amy is ultimately about Sav Rodgers’ personal journey almost as much as it is about the legacy of the Kevin Smith film.
DIRECTOR: Sav Rodgers
FEATURING: Kevin Smith, Guinevere Turner, Joey Lauren Adams, Scott Mosier, Sav Rodgers, Andrew Ahn, Kevin Willmott, Trish Bendix, Princess Weekes, Regina “Riley” Rodgers
Chasing Chasing Amy holds its world premiere during the 2023 Tribeca Fesival in the Viewpoints section. Grade: 4.5/5
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