Murder and Murder

As emotionally unsettling but not as challenging, Murder and Murder, Yvonne Rainer's logical follow-up to Privilege, is at once a soap opera, black comedy, love story, and political meditation. The movie contests popular misconceptions about lesbian sexuality, aging and medical biases about cancer, critiquing them as cultural constructions.

Through slapstick humor, visual metaphors, and commentary, Rainer's formal discursive strategies are invoked and dismantled. Periodically, Rainer (who also underwent a mastectomy) herself punctures the narrative with inquiries into the politics of breast cancer.

Two white women, Mildred and Doris are juxtaposed. Mildred is of the upper-middle class, Doris hails from a poor family and raised her daughter alone. Mildred is a tenured professor, Doris didn't attend college and has never had a steady job. Mildred shops at Barney's, Doris plunders catalogues and thrift shops. Mildred has been a lesbian all her life; Doris is attracted to a woman for the first time.

Told from Doris's perspective, the movie explores the pleasures, uncertainties and ambiguities of late-life lesbianism in a culture obsessed with youth and heterosexual romance.