About three years ago, actress and playwright Marielle Heller adapted Phoebe Gloeckner’s raw and unflinching Diary of a Teenage Girl for the stage, and now she has posted what appears to be a teaser trailer for a film version!
The story revolves around 15-year-old Minnie Goetze, who lives in San Francisco in the 1970s, emerging from a neglectful homelife into an out-of-control haze of adolescent confusion and self-discovery, involving sex, drugs, street life, and suicidal feelings.
Gloeckner is one of my favorite artists, though I have trouble reading even her short stories due to the intense relationship I feel towards her characters, all of whom suffer abuse of one form or another (so trigger warnings abound!). Sean T. Collins recently posted an unpublished interview with Gloeckner from 2003 where they discuss how she handles a lot of upsetting material in a way that doesn’t sensationalize it. Which, in my opinion, is what makes it so upsetting. It is nigh impossible to keep emotional distance from a Phoebe Gloeckner story—it is just too real. In addition, her art style, due to her training as an anatomical artist, is very realistic, making the characters come to life in the reader’s mind far more intensely than most other artist.
Collins also discusses how her work is almost totally ignored by the comics establishment except in the context of “women in comics”. While this is less true now than it was in 2003, I agree that Gloeckner is still criminally underappreciated, in far too small a proportion given her talent. Hopefully this film will help correct that oversight and bring her work both comics and mainstream attention.