Monday, March 29, 2010

Images From My All Time Favorite Films: John Waters' Female Trouble (1974)


Mike Lippert said...

Oh God, all the horrible memories of watching early John Waters movies. What is it, I am curious, appeals to you about this film?

Jeremy Richey said...

Hey Mike,
Thanks for commenting. I'm a huge Waters fan. First and foremost, I find his films and humor extremely funny, and I think his work is some of the most distinctive comedic work in all of modern cinema.
I also love and admire how, simply put, he focuses on aspects of life and people that no one else does and he finds beauty in both. I tried to highlight that aspect of Water's work with these stills. Anyway, I think Waters is a real pop-culture treasure and I love his films, with this one perhaps being my favorite. To my eyes he makes striking and beautiful art out of what most of society sees as ugly and tasteless and I think that is quite extraordinary.

Mike Lippert said...

Jeremy, I can appreciate this justification and am glad you are able to find that in Waters films because it's something I have never been able to find myself (although I find both of his books rather charming and enjoyable, have you read them?)

On that note I dug up an old article that I wrote about Desperate Living that perfectly explains my relationship to Waters and his pre-Polyester films:

There is certain admiration in the lengths that Waters will go to push those boundaries; his films certainly go places few others dare to and are never boring, but Waters takes the actions of the narrative to such extremes that he misses his own point completely.

Satire (and Waters has proven that, if nothing else, he is a satirist) succeeds just as much in what it can keep out as how much it puts in. By going all in at all times, Waters pushes the film so over-the-top that it fails to achieve anything but pure titillation: these films are peep shows that allow audiences to peep until there is nothing left to the imagination, essentially defeating the aim of the peep in the first place. John Waters is his own self-fulfilling prophecy.

What Waters fails to realize is that, by restraining nothing, he is simply reducing everything to the level of taboo. But the very essence of the taboo is that it exists away from society, behind the closed doors of those who engage in it. In Waters’ world there is no distinction between the taboo and reality (a necessity for satire) and therefore there is no comedy as the spectacle of the perversion becomes the point of every scene