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By Jeremy Mathews | January 26, 2007

Jennifer Fox’s series “Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman” may be presented as a six-hour film at the Sundance Film Festival, but I can describe it in one word: Unwatchable.

The documentary series is billed in the Sundance catalogue as an examination of how women live around the world, but it mostly consists of Fox talking about herself. Fifteen minutes into the movie, she’s already filmed her feet and shot herself in the mirror holding the camera. To express her inner fears about the discovery that she’s pregnant, she sets the camera on the table and delivers a series of over-acted facial expressions.

After the first hour, which alone feels like six hours, I was willing to believe that the next five would be more about womanhood and less about Fox. The talk about her married lover from South Africa, to whom she assigns the suspiciously obscure pseudonym “Kye,” and her new boyfriend Patrick—edited together cunningly with shots of her dogs and cats—was simply a jumping board for the quest to discover what it means to be a woman.

Eventually—and I mean after about three hours—she does start to travel to meet women from around the world who aren’t her friends, but all she does is talk to them about her own problems. In the fourth or fifth hour, she manages to talk to some Indian women about masturbation, but mostly she just asks them what she should do. She’s in love with her jerky lover, and unappreciative of her overly forgiving boyfriend. While it might have taken her several years to figure out what to do, any intelligent audience could do it in 90 minutes. But even if it were shorter, it wouldn’t improve the lazy filmmaking.

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