I remember a skit from an episode of SCTV in the ’80s called “I’m Taking My Own Head, Screwing It on Right, and No Guy’s Gonna Tell Me It Ain’t,” a razor-sharp spoof of plays that watered down feminism to a long, long list of narcissistic injuries. The personal was not political, but rather interminable.
Jennifer Fox’s six-hour-long first-person documentary plays just like that skit. This time, however, rather than chuckling, I often gasped in disbelief. Fox, 42 at the time her film begins, lives quite comfortably in a downtown NYC loft and enjoys boundless generosity and patience from her friends and family. Her “crisis,” which jump-starts Flying, is that she has two boyfriends and wonders, “Why were relationships with men so difficult these days?”
So Fox screws her head on right and travels all over the world, talking to other women about their relationships with men. Rather than being humbled, the director’s solipsism rages out of control. After hearing a Somali friend recount her genital mutilation, Fox says in voiceover, “Amina’s experience was much more extreme than mine. But she helped me understand my anger toward my grandmother.” Who will help Fox understand the anger viewers have toward her repellent self-absorption?