Family & Companions
Working in tandem with her then-husband Scott, Beth B was among the best-known New York underground filmmakers of the late 1970s and early 80s. As a team, Scott B and Beth B turned out numerous loud, very personal 8mm shorts that combined dark, sinister images with themes of violence. The filmmakers turned out work that explored how an individual could be constrained by society. For example, in "Black Box" (1978), a man is imprisoned in a the titular object, a device of torture made in the USA and utilized in foreign countries. The short clearly works on both a metaphorical as well as literal level. Segueing to feature-length films, Scott B and Beth B made efforts like "The Offenders" (1980), a badly shot, less than stellar effort about a kidnapping, and the highly stylized 16mm "Vortex" (1983), an art-house success starring punk performer Lydia Lunch and James Russo.
Following her divorce from Scott, Beth B continued to make experimental films that were dominated by themes of sexual repression and violence and examined the psychology of those in authority. She occasionally has collaborated with her mother, the esteemed artist and MacArthur "genius" Ida Appelbroog, on such efforts as "Belladonna" (1989) and "Stigmata" (1991). "Two Small Bodies" (1993), shot for $1,000,000, featured a dark narrative involving the death of two children and a bundle of nasty, erotic tension between the leads (Fred Ward and Suzy Amis). Around the same time, Beth B held an exhibition of her video work at the International Center of Photography entitled "Under Lock and Key," featuring footage of real-life abuse survivor testimonials and an actor mouthing selected quotes from cannibalistic serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
In 1996, she made the intriguing, if not wholly satisfying, documentary "Visiting Desire" which opens with observations from professional therapists followed by footage of ordinary people sharing their sexual fantasies and intimate feelings on camera. "Voices Unheard" (1997) was a nonfiction film that examined patterns of intergenerational abuse and violence as evidenced by a group of juvenile sex offenders (ages 13 to 18) living in America's heartland. Beth B continued on the same theme by turning her cameras on a trio of Vietnam veterans returning to Southeast Asia with their grown children in "Breathe In/Breathe Out," which was screened at both Rotterdam and Berlin in 2000 and premiered in NYC in 2001.
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Made shorts "G-Man" and "Black Box" with then-husband Scott B
Feature debut "The Offenders"; co-directed, co-wrote and co-photographed with Scott B
With Scott B, co-wrote, co-produced and co-directed "The Trap Door"
Co-directed, co-wrote and co-photographed "The Vortex" with Scott B
Helmed music videos
Solo feature directorial debut, "Salvation!"; also co-produced and co-wrote
With mother Ida Applebroog, co-directed the short "Belladonna"
Made a series of short films, including "Thanatopsis", "Stigmata/Stigmata on Sunday" (about recovering drug addicts) and "Shut Up and Suffer"
Wrote and directed the short "Two Small Bodies"
Directed the short "High Heel Nights"
Made documentary, "Visiting Desire", in which a group of people act out their sexual fantasies on camera
Directed the nonfiction film "Voices Unheard", about juvenile sex offenders
Had exhibition of photographs
"Breathe In/Breathe Out" about three Vietnam veterans who return to Southeast Asia with their adult children screened at Rotterdam and Toronto