Female Trouble (1974)

Female Trouble
Director: John Waters
Writer: John Waters
Cast: DivineMary Vivian PearceDavid LocharyMink StoleEdith MasseyCookie MuellerPaul SwiftSusan WalshMichael PotterEd PeranioGeorge FiggsSusan Lowe
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.9.2017

Plot:
Dawn (Divine) wants nothing but cha-cha heels for Christmas. But when she doesn’t get them, she runs away from home. From then on, her life spirals out of control. She gets pregnant while hitch-hiking and turns to a life of crime. When she is approached by Donald (David Lochary) and Donna Dasher (Mary Vivian Pearce) for an art project – they want to photograph her while she’s committing crimes – Dawn’s life takes yet another turn.

Female Trouble was a fascinating film that I found intriguing in quite a few ways, although it was again not the easiest film to watch.

Female Trouble was the follow-up to Pink Flamingos, both for Waters as a director and in the /slash’s program and during the /slash I saw even less of it than I did of Pink Flamingos. Having caught up now, I have to say that of the two films, it was definitely my favorite. And not just because no chickens were fucked here.

Divine has a great presence on screen and I thought that it translated better to the audience here. Maybe it was the added acting experience. Maybe it was because the film is visually so much stronger than Pink Flamingos (I assume that there was a little more budget involved here).

I also liked the social commentary the film provides. It’s not exactly coherent and keeps getting interrupted by hyper weirdness, but it’s definitely there. The question of fame vs. notoriety is pretty obvious, but there’s also the question of what is beautiful and who gets to decide that. And Taffy’s subplot was surprisingly painful for a film that’s so irreverent.

But a lot of the film is simply funny and a little silly. The hairsalon (and the hair) alone was so wonderfully stupid, I loved it.

I am pretty glad, though, that I decided not to make a four John Waters movies marathon of it at the Festival. Not only because I could use a full night’s sleep, but mostly because I still can only take his films in small doses.

Summarizing: I liked it, but it won’t become a favorite.

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