Since 1997—when she died of cancer at age 50—the late pioneering artist Kathy Acker has largely been remembered as a staunch feminist with a pixie cut, as memorialized through photographs taken by Robert Mapplethorpe and a 2017 biography written by Chris Kraus. Arguably, none of these preexisting depictions come as close to capturing the true Acker as the one portrayed by Maya Hawke—the buzzy, up-and-coming scion and breakout star of Stranger Things season 3—in the soon-to-be-released short film Memory Xperiment: Kathy Acker. Sure, each and every word that Hawke says aloud was actually written by the late artist, but that's only one way in which Aïda Ruilova, who wrote and directed the short, managed to capture Acker before even she knew who she was herself. Composed of a series of vignettes, the film stars Hawke as a 20-something navigating the early stages of adulthood in the '70s through sex and writing—whether splayed out on the floor surrounded by titles like Violette Leduc's Thérèse and Isabelle, shaving off her hair, or scribbling away in the back of her workplace (a strip club). Ahead of its premiere at Nitehawk Cinema Shorts Festival next month, get an exclusive sneak peek via Ruilova's annotated, behind-the-scenes Polaroids, here.
Originally Appeared on W