Pandrogyny. That is the real subject of Marie Losier's documentary about eccentric couple Genesis P-Orridge and Lady Jaye Breyer. What is pandrogyny, you (presumably) ask? Well, I suppose you might say it's androgyny meets total obsession with another person. Although The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye covers the highlights of Genesis P-Orridge's career as the trailblazer of industrial music via the formation of Throbbing Gristle, followed by the more ethereal project, Psychic TV (which P-Orridge started with Peter Christopherson in 1982), the film is really a testament to one of the rarest, most all-consuming loves to hit the screen in decades.
If imitation is, in fact, the sincerest form of flattery, then Genesis P-Orridge flattered Lady Jaye more than any human being possibly could have. Believing that the purest manifestation of love is to become quite literally the same person, P-Orridge underwent major reconstructive surgery that included both breast implants and facial alterations to mirror Lady Jaye as closely as possible.
With the occasional random smattering of avant-garde imagery (P-Orridge making over the top expressions as bird sounds play at the beginning of the film, for instance), Losier approaches the story of P-Orridge and Lady Jaye with a uniqueness that could only suit this particular couple. P-Orridge's reminiscences about meeting Lady Jaye for the first time are incredibly heartfelt, in spite of the fact that their initial meeting place was in a dominatrix dungeon (Lady Jaye paid for most of her luxuries that way during the 80s while living in Alphabet City). The genderless guru also finds time to reflect on the profundity of an early record s/he put out with the disclaimer: "We have nothing to say, but we're saying it anyway."
This tongue in cheek warning, however, does not mirror the message of The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, a documentary that seems to impress upon its viewer an unlikely dichotomy when it comes to relationships: One can be both self-obsessed and obsessed with another--the catch being that you are basically the same person. The idea of modifying their bodies was ultimately a substitute for having a child in that the two of them were essentially creating another person by melding into one: A hybrid of themselves called Breyer P-Orridge.
One of Lady Jaye's most vehement wishes for what has been dubbed the Pandrogyne Project was to be remembered as "one of history's great love stories." While, at this moment in time, their love story might be underrated and viewed as a novelty rather than genuine, I think time will favor their romance rather well. After all, what other couple has sacrificed its bodies so freely in the name of love?