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  7. Losing Ground

Losing Ground

Kathleen Collins, USA 1982, 86 Min., OV

Lilting, talky, warm and witty; watching Losing Ground today, more than 40 years after it was first made, it’s striking how fresh and modern it still feels. Philosophy Professor Sara (Serett Scott) and her painter husband Victor (Bill Gunn) escape the long hot Manhattan summer to a leafy holiday home upstate. There the impulsive Victor begins an affair with young Puerto Rican Celia (Maritza Rivera) woman, while Sara, increasingly torn between her cool intellectual exterior and her internal passions, escapes the tension through trips back to the city, where she agrees to act in a student film opposite the handsome Duke (Duane Jones). As Sara splits her time between their upstate retreat and inner-city shoot, the film-within-a-film love triangle begins to disturbingly echo her troubled marriage, building to a tense climax. The only completed feature from writer and filmmaker Kathleen Collins was unseen for decades until it was found and restored by Collin’s daughter after the director’s death – it is now widely seen as a missing link in Black independent cinema. (RP)

LOSING GROUND, Kathleen Collins