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Swoon

Tom Kalin

As Richard Loeb’s lover and partner-in-crime, Nathan Leopold was party to one of the most notorious murders iof the jazz age, the sadistic killing of 14 year old Bobby Franks. Shocking as the crime was the case’s impact was more complex. From wealthy jewish families, Leopold and Loeb were intellectual aesthetes; yet they murdered for kicks. Kalin’s film is the first to expand on Clarence Darrow’s argument for the defence, that the pair’s homosexuality for their actions. The film’s second half sticks closely to court transcripts to diagnose a repressive, racist, homophobic pathology on a wider social scale, endemic to patriarchy itself. With its sinuous monochrome finish, Swoon is decadent and economical, subjective and detached, fascinating and appalling.

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