Ken Okiishi (b. 1978)
Death and the College Student (1999)
color/sound, 32 minutes
In what appears to be a college dorm room, Okiishi delivers a freewheeling presentation on the martyrdoms of James Dean and especially of River Phoenix, tortured film stars who became queer icons in their untimely deaths. Readings are interspersed with half-reenacted scenes from My Own Private Idaho (1991), Gus Van Sant’s classic of New Queer Cinema; and from The Matrix (1999), the blockbuster fantasy starring Keanu Reeves -- object of gay desire in Van Sant’s film, now in the role of action star and messianic hero.