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




Stream Single Title

Title Awards Image Major Exhibitions/Festivals Description
Sea in the Blood

Equal First Prize for Best Male Short, Inside Out, Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

Sea in the Blood

OutFest (LA, CA.), 2001

Rotterdam International Film Festival (The Netherlands), 2001


Athens Int'l Film/Video Festival (OH), 2001



Sea In The Blood is a personal documentary about living with illness, tracing the relationship of the artist to thalassemia in his sister Nan, and AIDS in his partner Tim. At the core of the piece are two trips. The first is in 1962, when Richard went from Trinidad to England with Nan to see a famous hematologist interested in her unusual case. The second is in 1977 when Richard and Tim made the counterculture pilgrimage from Europe to Asia. The relationship with Tim blossomed, but Nan died before their return. The narrative of love and loss is set against a background of colonialism in the Caribbean and the reverberations of migration and political change.

"Sea in the Blood was to be a meditation on race, sexuality and disease, but after working with the material for three years, it was the emotional story that came through. It's hard to work with such personal material, but in the end the work takes on a life of its own. 'Richard' is a character. Because of the subject matter — disease and death — I wanted to avoid sentimentality. I'd like the audience to think as well as feel."

— Richard Fung