Petey & Ginger is a flatulent, pointless documentary which skirts around some things that I have an interest in. Danish filmmaker Ada Bligaard Søby, calls up two of her most disenfranchised, hedonistic buddies and follows them around their indolent lives for a few weeks. The first is Petey Dammit(!), guitarist for garage rock doyens Thee Oh Sees and all-round pessimist; the second is Ginger Partington, a former call-girl turned fortuneteller. At a little over an hour’s length, I found that the enjoyable soundtrack from greats like Thee Oh Sees, Coachwhips and Ty Segall wasn’t enough to keep me from being bored.
Surprisingly for my own personal interests, the freewheelin’ escapades of being in such a great band like Thee Oh Sees is incredulous and boring. With an unwelcome mixture of apathy and contempt, the conventional ‘all I wanna do is make music, man’ mentality of Petey is outshone by the moderately more interesting Ginger. Growing up in a mountainous American landscape, she left her man-eating mother behind and headed into the army. Finishing her service, she fell into a job as a prostitute/dominatrix/escort of sorts. Although it’s slightly jarring to see that she looks back on this time with only fondest of memories, her life is now at risk of being so conventionally unconventional – she’s a tarot reader.
I’m too tired, frustrated and idle to list the many problems of Søby’s documentary, but one of the main resounding issues is the lack of intent. We observe these two people (whose stories are in no way relating other than that they are in the same friendship circle) just going about their daily business, only slightly more awkwardly due to the fact that they have a film crew following them around. Neither are fascinating enough to constitute their own independent documentaries, nor a hodgepodge assembled one. A wasteful and intrinsically unlikeable documentary.
CPH:DOX is one of the world’s biggest film festivals dedicated to documentary practice, with an interest in particularly experimental audio/visual work. You can follow all of my coverage here. For more info please visit the festival website.