The Amateurist

Miranda July

1998 | 00:14:00 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Feminism, Surveillance, Television

A captivating video about surveillance, identity, watching, and being watched, The Amateurist slides along the edges of horror and satire to create an unsettling portrait of a woman on the brink of a technologically driven madness.

The Amateurist alternately adores and rejects three familiar tropes: the sick and examined woman, the starlet/stripper, and the genius/talentless woman. As a performer living with a chronic illness who has been both a child actress and a stripper, I choose not to speak with an autobiographical voice, which would, in itself be yet another cliché (the confessional). Instead, I create women who are predictable amalgamations of single types… What I choose to say with these figurines is much less articulatable, though no less familiar. The prescribed lines dismantle themselves with mutual interrogation and this process releases fumes of true loneliness, relentless strength, insatiable desire.”

— Miranda July

"The Amateurist has very few precedents--many films provoke laughter and tears, but few (only Chantal Akerman's early work and Todd Haynes Safe spring to mind) do so in a way that taps so directly into submerged contemporary anxiety."

— Derk Richardson, “The Marvelous World of Miranda July,” San Francisco Bay Guardian (3 June 1998)

"I've seen [The Amateurist] three times and it's still so inexplicable. It feels like it has its own invented language and laws. When I try to describe it to people, I can't!"

— Alison Maclean (Director of Crush and Jesus' Son)

This title is also available on Miranda July Videoworks: Volume 1.

Pricing Information

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Prizes + Awards

Cinematexas Best Experimental and No Budget Award 1999

New York Expo 1999, Silver Award Experimental

San Franciso Golden Gate Award, Silver Spire 2000



Exhibitions + Festivals

Rotterdam Film Festival 1999

Stuttgarter Filmwinter Wand (Germany), 1999

Chicago Underground Film Festival, 1999

Queer City Cinema, 2000

Mediacity (Canada), 2000


Impakt Organisation (The Netherlands), 2000