Variety (w/ Bette Gordon in person)

Drenched in the sumptuous cherry red neon of a pre-Guiliani Times Square, Variety is a Hitchcockian thriller flipped on its axis: our voyeur is a Hitchcock blonde and her objet a man. Christine (Sandy McLeod) takes a job at a porn theater, where she sits in a vestibule selling tickets to men – a trifling job which begets deep fascinations. Gordon sketches Christine’s psychic transformation with mesmerizing, cinematic sequences that tease out the authoritative power of particularly gendered transactions and spaces – like a dreamy montage of men shaking hands, the seedy Variety theater itself, black town cars on financial district streets, and the Fulton Fish Market. It’s also a who’s who of downtown NY – penned by Kathy Acker, scored by Jim Jarmusch collaborator John Lurie, and with appearances by Nan Goldin, Luis Guzman, and Cookie Mueller. Upon its release, the film ran at the real Variety theater, no doubt to some audience members that could just as easily be denizens of the film’s world.

Dir. Bette Gordon, 1983, 35mm, 100 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!