Robert Greene’s Kate Plays Christine is an intelligent and intense documentary skewering modern media ethics and studying psychosis, persona, and gender politics. At the center is journalist Christine Chubbuck who committed the first on-air suicide on a Sarasota news station, and the actress Kate Lyn Sheil charged with playing the woman in all of her various unknowable selves and deep depression. As the actress digs deep to find truth, her struggle for authenticity converges with Chubbuck’s own story (also featured this year in Antonio Campos’s Christine).
With nerve and patience, the film is an audacious hybrid of genre and thematic focus. It plays for psychological horror and satire while its journalist discovery of Chubbuck’s disposition remains the focus. The lines of documentary have been blurred plenty but not often in ways so reflective of the implications of the subject – the effect is disorienting and unsettling in unique ways.