May 8, 2011

Queer Review: Women in Revolt (1971)

Women in Revolt
Director: Paul Morrissey
Writer: Paul Morrissey
Cast: Candy Darling, Jackie Curtis, Holly Woodlawn

This Warhol Factory production attempts to satirize the Women's Liberation movement. Unfortunately, Women in Revolt is so painful an experience to watch, that I believe viewing it should be covered by 8th Amendment to the Constitution (the one about Cruel and Unusual Punishment).

Three women Candy (Candy Darling), Jackie (Jackie Curtis), and Holly (Holly Woodlawn) played by men in drag, come together to create a women's liberation movement called P.I.G. (Politically Involved Girls) and become lesbians. We the audience are then subjected to scene after scene - thankfully interrupted by some lengthy scenes of extended nudity - where these characters sit around and complain to each other about the evils of men and how tragic their miserable lives are.

The Queering
Women in Revolt was made by under the auspices of the Warhol Factory shortly after the attempted murder of Andy Warhol by radical feminist Valerie Solanas. It is not hard therefore, to see Warhol and company aiming the "satire" of Women in Revolt at Solanas. There is an obvious kinship between P.I.G. and the S.C.U.M (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto which was written by Solanas. I can understand the sentiment as I imagine Warhol was not exactly a fan of Solanas after that event. However, there is no excuse for him to have foisted this unfunny dung pile upon the public at large.

I suppose on one hand, there will be those who leap to write/director Paul Morrissey's defense here and argue that there is some sort of artistic vision driving the movie's nearly incoherent plot forward. These people will probably point out the symbolism and shocking irony of having most of the nudity provided by the men rather then the women.

I, however, find no difficulty in calling a pretentious pile of **** a pretentious pile of ****. After watching Women in Revolt I can only say that I developed an even deeper appreciation of Born in Flames, which was another low budget, pro-feminist independent film and that I kept thinking of fondly while watching this movie.

Let's start with the acting. The only nice thing I can say here is that some of the better performers did not grate on my nerves quite so much as the worst performers did. At least a few of them were obviously high while they were filming their scenes.

As for the production values, the camera work appears to have been done by somebody with only the dimmest sense of where they should be pointing the camera and the editing done by a drunken person with access to only a chainsaw and scotch tape. As for the writing, I am guessing that the dialog was developed using a technique that is now commonly referred to as mumblecore, although if there had been more mumbling and less screeching this film would have been a little easier to bear.

The only positive aspect of this movie is that there is a fairly large amount of male nudity and some female nudity. Although, if that is what one wants, one would be best served by watching porn, as most pornos would have better acting, writing, and production values than Women in Revolt

Too many revolting characteristics to be worth watching. Avoid at all costs.

The Rating

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