You pay a price for being a female prophet.
– Pat Rendleman in Sherman’s March
I finally saw the 1986 genre-defining first-person documentary, Sherman’s March, last week, and now I have a new IM icon: Pat Rendleman, one of the amazing women interviewed in the film about a guy named Ross McElwee who set out to make a documentary about General Sherman and ended up making one about his hapless search for love (and nuclear non-proliferation, and Burt Reynolds, but mainly love). I would call Pat “the new Little Edie,” because of her fascinating larger-than-life role in a classic quirky documentary and her awesome fashion sense, but it’s not like the movie isn’t 27 years old — Pat is just new to me, and here are some clips illustrating why I love her.
When Ross (and the viewer) first meet Pat, she demonstrates her “cellulite exercises”:
And this is my favorite Pat clip, where she tells Ross about her screenplay idea, which is obviously just her biggest fantasy in life. It’s a little crazy in that early-twenties way that everyone is crazy, but can you imagine anyone being this much herself in a documentary now? I love the part where he asks her how old she is in this movie and she quickly answers “Ageless.”:
Here Ross briefly meets Pat’s family, in a setting so reminiscent of the Halls in Annie Hall that I just realized maybe that’s part of my obsession with Pat — she’s like Annie Hall, but Southern. She also reads Ross’s palm for clues to his romantic future:
Pat is now a artist in NYC. Sherman’s March is pretty navel-gazy, but is definitely worth seeing for the female “characters,” whose honesty and big personalities would go uncaptured now that reality TV and the internet have made everyone so self-conscious on film. You can buy it here or Netflix it here.