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Art for Teachers of Children
Time Out says
Clinical-sounding title notwithstanding, Montgomery's autobiographical recollection of an illicit adolescent relationship is a courageous, incendiary and contentious exploration of attitudes to under-age sexuality. Now professor of film at a New York art school, Montgomery, who wrote, directed, shot and edited the film, was spurred to distil her experiences when pressured by the FBI in 1989 to testify against an alleged child pornographer. Montgomery was one of his photographic subjects, and her film is pitched as a fictionalised 'boarding school melodrama', charting the brief liaison that develops after 14-year-old Jennifer (poet Caitlin Grace McDonnell) poses for dorm counsellor, art teacher and aspiring photographer John (NY painter Hannah). Filmed in grainy b/w with an amateur cast, the piece has all the formal impetus of an industrial training documentary. A problem, however, is that while Montgomery has earned the right to explore her own experiences, as soon as this material appears in public its specificity evaporates, prompting the risk that it might be read as a tacit endorsement of under-age sex.