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Divine Trash [Import]
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Independent producer and author John Pierson (Spike, Mike, Slackers and Dykes) defines the 1970s American indie scene as "the three Johns: John Cassavetes, John Sayles, and John Waters." John Waters, Baltimore's king of sleaze, in such classy company? According to Pierson in this 1998 documentary, Waters had an even more profound impact on American cinema. Director Steve Yeager, a Waters intimate for decades (he plays a bit part in Pink Flamingos), gathers the surviving members of his stock company for a portrait of the director, from backyard puppet show impresario to the transgressive underground and exploitation director who grossed out America in the 1970s. A generous array of film clips is enriched with archival interviews with Divine, David Lochary, and Edith Massey, and a chorus of film critics and underground and independent directors.
Fully half of the film chronicles the making of Pink Flamingos, with actual behind-the-scenes footage from the shoot (including the most priceless direction ever captured on film: "David, act some more"). A plentiful portion pays tribute to Divine ("the Godzilla of drag queens"), whom Waters calls "my Elizabeth Taylor." The only real disappointment in this rich and highly entertaining documentary is that it ends with Flamingos, as if his entire career since is a mere coda to this cultural touchstone. But this portrait is so rich and detailed that it's a forgivable directorial choice. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
From there I will go on to say what an impressive piece of work this is. Having long been a fan of the movie Hairspray, which raised my curiosity about Divine in the first place, a natural progression enabled my curiosity about John Waters. This is primarily his story, the story of his work, with plenty of interview time with him. What an intriguing individual! What a creative time and place he lived in! How fortunate for all freedom loving Americans that such explorations were possible in that time and place. I doubt they could ever happen today.
True, the films do seem to be in questionable taste, with little, if any, socially redeeming value. But look closer, and you may find your own reflection. What is the value of shock value? What are its drawbacks? What have we gained? What have we lost?
John Waters was not shallow, nor was he untintelligent. He was creatively inspired, and no matter how we react to his work, react we do. Such is the nature of art.
I feel like I got to know the man just a little, which is exactly what I wanted to do. I understood a little more about his work, and its success. Do I approve? I still don't know, but I do know that whether I approve or not doesn't matter.
I do approve of freedom. I believe that no one was hurt, and that violence was not empowered through the message, which makes many of today's movies filthy in comparison.
John Waters is an interesting individual. It would have been intruging to have been in his entourage. One could not have escaped coming out a changed individual. He created a cocoon, a chrysalis, where larvae were nurtured and outrageous butterflies emerged. They loved what they were doing, and they were successful.
If nothing else, it is a deep meditation on the nature of success in a country that considers it a superior export.
Waters comes across as an intelligent and surprisingly normal guy, and it's interesting to learn how his moviemaking style evolved, but the constant references (by others) to his important role in moviemaking history is mostly bunk. The guy made crudely-produced gross-out movies. Nothing wrong with that, if that's what you wanna watch, but Fellini he ain't. Definitely worthwhile for hardcore Waters fans; of marginal interest to everyone else.
Most recent customer reviews
Although this documentary mainly focuses on "Pink Flamingos", it is still enterataining to watch and very thorough. Read morePublished on April 17 2002 by Michael B.
As a die hard Waters fan, I thought I knew everything. Nu uh. Very good interviews/footage. A must for people that thrive on filth.Published on March 12 2002 by SMX
This great documentary covering the early works of John Waters lets the "cats out of the proverbial bags". Read morePublished on Jan. 16 2002 by Marty From SF
THIS VIDEO IS A FASCINATING LOOK BEHIND-THE-SCENES AND INTO THE MINDS OF JOHN WATERS AND THE ORIGINAL DREAMLANDERS. Read morePublished on Aug. 23 2001 by TJAMES03
While the film does focus on Waters' early work, especially on "Pink Flamingoes", it is an excellent view into the history and mind of the director. Read morePublished on Aug. 22 2001 by Jonathon
...I can't believe this archive even exists, and has been in hiding all these years! It was surreal seeing Edith Massey, David Lochary and Divine (in drag during filming Pink... Read morePublished on July 26 2000 by BuyCurious
This ambitious documentary concentrates on the legendary bad taste classic Pink Flamingos. Here are interviewed all the cast & crew including the deceased David Locharty and of... Read morePublished on July 24 2000
If you're a John Waters fan you will probably enjoy this documentary quite a bit. It has lots of facts about some of the earlier films he did, interviews with Waters and cast... Read morePublished on July 21 2000 by J. C. Stine