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New documentary explores composer's kinky relationship

News - Classical Music | Film

New documentary explores composer's kinky relationship

by Justine Nguyen on August 10, 2017 (August 10, 2017) filed under Classical Music | Film | Comment Now
"The Artist and the Pervert" tackles the complexities of Georg Friedrich Haas' dominant-submissive marriage.

Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas and his wife Mollena Williams-Haas are the subjects of a new documentary exploring their self-described ‘kinky’ relationship. Titled The Artist and the Pervert, the film follows the couple in their day to day lives, taking a close look at their unconventional lifestyle and how it informs the other’s work. Although filming has been finished, the directors are currently crowdfunding to get their documentary past the post-production stage.

The German filmmakers, René Gebhardt and Beatrice Behn, were first made aware of the couple through a New York Times article detailing their “dominant-submissive power dynamic”. In it, the couple are described as first speaking in December 2013 via the dating platform OkCupid, later marrying in 2015. Aside from being a prolific and wide-ranging composer, Haas occupies a teaching position at Columbia University, while his wife Mollena is a writer and sex educator who specialises in kink education.

In an interview with Fembotmag, Beatrice Behn spoke about the range of political and social issues raised by The Artist and the Pervert. “First of all Mollena and Georg are an interracial and intercultural couple. She is an African-American artist, kink educator, civil rights and body positivity activist who grew up in the projects in New York City. He is one of the most important contemporary composers in New Music who spent his childhood on a mountain (literally) in the middle of nowhere in Austria. They are now happily married and live in a consensual power-exchange relationship.”

“What I learned during the process is that their relationship immediately triggers a lot of emotions in other people and creates this almost ad hoc response. How dare she call herself a slave as an African-American? How can he be a woman’s master and call himself a feminist? Is this not a re-enactment of typical patriarchal standards? Is she self-hating and destructive? I understand where this is coming from, however I am a vociferous advocate of the art of seeing and learning instead of judging…we took a long and deep look at this couple to see what is beyond all the buzzwords and hot topics.”

Billed as a frank look at a range of topics including race, sexuality, politics and power dynamics, The Artist and the Pervert is a provocative exploration of how the pair navigate the particular challenges of their alternative lives. 


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