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Suitcase of Love and Shame2013

  • 3.9
A forbidden love story played out in a decade that would soon spawn the sexual revolution, SUITCASE OF LOVE AND SHAME reconstructs a mesmerizing and erotic narrative from sixty hours of reel-to-reel audiotape discovered in a suitcase purchased on eBay. In 1964, the couple, Tom and Jeannie, lived in different cities. Long distance phone calls were risky (Tom was married) and cost prohibitive, so instead they recorded audio letters to one another and sent them discreetly in the mail. The recordings were raw, intimate, and candid; innermost thoughts and desires, sexual indiscretions, juxtaposed with observations on the banality of their work and daily lives. They recorded everything. When they would meet in hotel rooms on business trips, they recorded themselves making love. The tapes memorialized their affair. They also captured all that was happening around them, the rich textural sounds of life in the Midwest in the 1960s: thunderstorms, telephones ringing, barking dogs, intercoms, even Bert Parks announcing the winner of the Miss America Pageant of 1965. Using vivid archival and present-day imagery to supplement the recordings, this fascinating documentary addresses the morals laws of 1960's America, the devastation of divorce, the effects of institutionalized sexism and the clandestine lives many adult Americans were forced to lead. In today's social media environment, where recording and sharing one’s most personal and private moments is commonplace, it is striking to confront such a salacious and candid media example from a half a century ago. In the early 1960’s, most people were not thinking about the impact and dissemination of recorded media, yet Tom and Jeannie documented their lives for the same reasons we do today. Quite unlike any other documentary, SUITCASE OF LOVE AND SHAME opens a remarkably rich dialogue about confession, exhibitionism, privacy and voyeurism.

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3 members like this review

This is a wonderful example of how documentary considered as a from of creative non-fiction can capture the feeling and mood of a particular time and place, in this case, America in 1965. Watching this, it is easy to see what the hippies where seeing as they reacted to mainstream American culture with the psychological response much akin to projectile vomiting as a physical response. The hippies where right.

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Member Reviews (7)

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top reviewer

This is a wonderful example of how documentary considered as a from of creative non-fiction can capture the feeling and mood of a particular time and place, in this case, America in 1965. Watching this, it is easy to see what the hippies where seeing as they reacted to mainstream American culture with the psychological response much akin to projectile vomiting as a physical response. The hippies where right.

3 members like this review
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top reviewer

This was a very curious project. It was captivating on some levels, but ultimately I found it very disturbing. We clearly are invading someone's privacy. I actually think this, if indeed these are the actual tapes, is wrong. Have you ever taken a private photograph or written a very private letter? If someone found these fifty years from now, would you consider it acceptable for someone to not only look at them, but to display them for large groups of people to see? I don't think the notion of are gives us the right to violate someone's privacy. If on the other hand, this is purely fictional, then my criticism is retracted, and in which case I would say this is at least marginally interesting as a look into the foolish things we do when we are attracted to.

2 members like this review

It feels on my ears like a great novel,I have never found any movie so beautiful.

2 members like this review
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staff

Couldn't agree more!

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top reviewer

Amazing. A film I could have enjoyed with my eyes closed through the whole thing - except that I would have missed those little glimpses of a leg or a hotel room or of her red hair etc. The winning and enduring voices were REALLY impressive and persuasive: congrats to the director and the actors. They totally made the film. Although the pace sometimes seemed slow, I came to appreciate that those long pauses that provided little moments when I could ponder and consider and make some conclusions. I've never reviewed a film like this where so much was contributed by what was left out. Please provide us with more work by Jane Gillooly!

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top reviewer

Have you ever wondered how lovers talk in private? Ever wanted to listen in on private phone conversations? If so, this is a movie for you. It just goes to show how banal and common all those conversations between lovers that (the lovers) feel are unique.

9906ff2368f28494251c010dd5ca2eb4?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0064
top reviewer

An experiment with no resolution.

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top reviewer

"Institutionalized sexism." That's rich. In other words, even if you're not sexist, you still are.

Someone needs to get laid.