Kahnweiler, 31, told the New York Times, “For years, I’ve been wanting to tell this story, but I haven’t known how.” Rather than tackling the topic of bulimia directly, she has a sidelong take on the reality of the disorder, which proves to be a more realistic depiction of the role an eating disorder can play in one’s life. Bulimia is never the highlight of “The Skinny,” but it’s always there, weaving in and out of the narrative, depending largely on what else is happening in her life.
Throughout her career, Kahnweiler has made several other unsetting, provocative, and fiercely honest short films. “Meet My Rapist,” for example, shows a woman who runs into her assailant in a farmers market. In “Jessie Gets Arrested,” she illustrates white privilege through trying to get arrested, and failing, despite violating a dozen laws, including selling prescription medication to cops.
Kahnweiler is known for her ability to depict the dark and hidden corners of the female experience. When her ex-boyfriend rapes her in Episode 5 of “The Skinny,” rather than creating a moment of high drama, the scene shows the subtleties of how a conversation can escalate from flirting, seduction and pleasure to violence. Our culture often refers to rape as something that happens to a woman alone on the street at night. But in reality, 85% of rape victims already know the perpetrator. The normality of Kahnweiler’s rape scene and the silence that follows are deeply unsettling. Through comedy, Kahnweiler conveys darker, often uncomfortable realities.