1. Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and its Metaphors (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1989), 3. [return to page 1 of essay]

2. The Odds of Recovery is available on 16mm film from Canyon Cinema (www.canyoncinema.com), and on DVD from Outcast Films (www.outcast-films.com).

3. Janet Cutler, “Su Friedrich: Breaking the Rules,” in Women’s Experimental Cinema: Critical Frameworks, ed. Robin Blaetz (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007), 312.

4. The quoted phrase is from a description of the film at www.outcastfilms.com/films/ su/volume5.html.

5. Michael Renov, “The Subject in History: The New Autobiography in Film and Video,” Afterimage 17.1 (1989): 5.

6. Susanna Egan,” Encounters in Camera: Autobiography as Interaction,” Modern Fiction Studies 40.3 (1994): 593.

7. Jim Lane, The Autobiographical Documentary in America (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002), 22.

8. For a discussion of Friedrich’s “third person autobiography” in her film Sink or Swim (1990) see William C. Wees, “No More Giants,” in Jean Petrolle and Virginia Wright Wexman, eds., Women and Experimental Filmmaking (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2005), 32-38.

9. Nadja Gernalzick, “To Act or to Perform: Distinguishing Filmic Autobiography,” Biography 29.1 (2006): 3.

10. Friedrich may be referencing the early artist’s video by Lisa Steele, Birthday Suit with Scars and Defects (1974), but in Steele’s case the scars are not the result of surgery but of her clumsiness: “I have always been clumsy, tripping, dropping, falling with alarming regularity.” (www.steeleandtomczak.com/birthday suit with scars and defects.html)
[return to page 2]

11. Su Friedrich, personal communication.

12 Her only explicit acknowledgment of the system’s contribution to keeping her odds of recovery very good appears in the closing credits: “Many thanks to all the nurses, medical technicians, doctors, surgeons, therapists and alternative medicine practitioners who have treated me over the years.”

13. While Friedrich shot most of the garden footage, some images of Friedrich in the garden were shot by Joel Schlemowitz (Friedrich, personal communication). [return to page 3]

14. Shari Kizirian, “Local Spotlight: Su Friedrich’s New Film Premieres at MadCat,” Release Print: The Magazine of Film Art Foundation (September 2002). Available at: www.sufriedrich.com/index.php.

15. The film begins in darkness with “hospital sounds” and ends in darkness with the chirping of a bird—one of Friedrich’s subtler formal devices for integrating structure and meaning.

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