Directors: Peggy Ahwesh & Margie Strosser
Producer: Margie Strosser
Cinematography: Peggy Ahwesh
Jennifer Key Baker
Deidre Lewis
Cheryl Dunye
Franck Messin
50 minutes
U-matic or VHS video (NTSC)
Black & White (Pixelvision)
R18 Certificate
The fascinating thing about this 50-minute documentary by Peggy Ahwesh and Margie Strosser - about the everyday lives of four Miami crackheads, three women and a man - is the offbeat intimacy they create with their imaginative and resourceful use of a Fisher-Price Pixelvision camera. The crackheads are mainly glimpsed goofing off, talking about themselves, and trying to coax money out of family and friends during a severe hurricane.
- Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader, 25/2/94
Peggy Ahwesh and Margie Strosser's Strange Weather, a nervously amusing treatment of blank generation crack-addicted Floria youth, is a fine example of a specific medium's suitability to specific subject matter. The enlarged pixels of Pixelvision (preferred tool of zero-budget experimenters, those who want to look zero-budget, and other grade-school auteurs) yield raggedly fragmenting and abstracting patterns in various shades of black and white, and offer an ideal home for the POV of the drug-addled. The weather of the title is an approaching hurricane and the metaphoric destructive energy it embodies. The characters spend their time smoking crack or combing the floors for imagined crack. The video ends before the storm hits, giving the piece a sensation of detour, incompleteness - apt to the minds inhabiting the video space.
- Chris Chang, Film Comment, 11-12/94
Experimental filmmaker Peggy Ahwesh mixes domestic movie technology - video, Super-8, Pixelvision - and outré behaviour to disconcerting effect. Strange Weather brings us into very close proximity with Patti and cohorts, who are holed up in a house in South Florida smoking crack cocaine. Hurricane Andrew is brewing off the coast, and they haven't noticed. The Pixelvision camera seems to inhabit their intermittently hilarious world of tall tales, emotional blackmail and languid attention to domestic detail (notably the kitty litter), but we're given every opportunity to wonder about the veracity of what we are seeing and hearing.
- Bill Gosden, Wellington Film Festival 1995 Programme
Strange Weather, made in collaboration with Margie Strosser, is in terms of length and production the most ambitious of Ahwesh's recent works... The austere, largely improvised narrative is based on the experiences of Strosser's sister. It deals with the now perhaps too familiar down-and-out life of drug addicts, but the compelling aspect of the video is that Ahwesh shot the fictionalized story in a freewheeling way as if real life events were being recorded as they happened. This stylistic stamp is reinforced by the filmmakers' use of Pixelvision, a video format developed by the Fisher-Price Corporation for children's cameras... Ahwesh's exploitation of the tension between almost abstract formal decisions and graphic subject matter may give the impression to the naive and unwary that her intimacy with her performers has gotten to the point where proper aesthetic control has been abandoned. Hence, often to her surprise, a certain degree of controversy has stalked Ahwesh. The undeniable psychological dimension in her films, which, to their credit, the films themselves never seem to acknowledge in direct terms (as Ingmar Bergman's films do), is a great source of their power as art.
- John Pruitt, Whitney Biennial 1995