Savaged by the critics when it was first released, Ken Russell’s Crimes of Passion 1984 is a film that deserves to be rediscovered. Here are three reasons why this cult favourite deserves a rethink:
1 | Ken Russell didn’t believe in the virtue in being understated. Crimes of Passion is a downright silly vision of American society and sexual mores. Kathleen Turner plays a successful sportswear designer who acts out her sublimated desires by moonlighting as the prostitute China Blue. Hiding in the shadows with his bag of tricks is the deranged Reverend Peter Shayne (Anthony Perkins) who obsesses over her ‘evils of the flesh’. As Russell suggested at the time: ‘This is not the age of manners. This is the age of kicking people in the crotch.’
2 | The two central performances are a revelation. Kathleen Turner appears fearless and uninhibited in every scene. Anthony Perkins is so wacky he makes his role as Norman Bates in Psycho seem well adjusted. Barry Sandler’s screenplay gives Turner a dazzlingly array of foul-mouthed quips. When one sleazy client asks her: ‘How low can you get?’ she simply replies ‘As low as you can afford’.
3 | Peeping is Believing. The film has received a stunning new 2K digital restoration by Arrow Films, reinstating all the scenes censored from the original release. This is the director’s cut in all its neon-tinted glory!
Crimes of Passion 1984 R18+
Director: Ken Russell
35MM transferred to DCP
6.30pm Friday 10 June | 1hr 52min | Buy Tickets
‘In Character’ is a cinema project developed in response to the exhibition ‘Cindy Sherman’. It brings together a cast of actresses and characters who challenge our expectations for the behaviour, desire and physicality of women onscreen. Check out this week’s selection of films at GOMA’s Australian Cinémathèque.
Serial Mom 1994 M
Director/Script: John Waters
6pm Wednesday 8 June | 1hr 35min | Buy Tickets
John Waters puts a twist on the everyday mediocrity of suburban life in this hilarious satire. Kathleen Turner is Beverly Sutphin, the seemingly perfect homemaker who will stop at nothing to rid the neighbourhood of anyone failing to live up to her moral code.
Pink Flamingos 1972 R18+
Director: John Waters
16MM transferred to 35MM
7.45pm Wednesday 8 June | 1hr 47min | Buy Tickets
Filmmaker John Waters exploded into infamy with this darkly comic classic, in which cross-dresser Divine stars as Babs Johnson, a criminal in hiding from the FBI in a trailer outside of Baltimore, Maryland. Accompanying Babs are her mother (Edith Massey), a woman who is obsessed with eggs; her son Crackers (Danny Mills); and Cotton (Mary Vivian Pierce), Babs’s “travelling companion” and Crackers’ co-conspirator in unwholesome play.
Possession 1981 R18+
Director/Script: Andrzej Żuławski
35MM (Uncut Restoration) | English Subtitles
8.45pm Friday 10 June | 2hrs 4min | Buy Tickets
With their marriage in pieces Anna (Isabelle Adjani) and Mark’s (Sam Neil) tense relationship has become a psychotic descent into screaming matches and violence. The unhinged Anna visits her monstrous lover in a deserted Berlin apartment and will stop at nothing to protect it. A horror film like no other, Possession is an intense, shocking experience that was banned in the UK. At Cannes Film Festival however the film was nominated for the Palme d’Or and Isabelle Adjani won Best Actress for her mesmerising performance.
Mommie Dearest 1981 M
Director: Frank Perry
35MM transferred to DCP
1pm Saturday 11 June | 2hrs 9min | Buy Tickets
Outrageous and controversial, this is the story of legendary movie star Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway) as she struggles for her career and battles the inner demons of her private life. This torment was manifested in her relationships with her adopted children, Christina and Christopher. The public Crawford was a strong-willed, glamorous object of admiration, but Mommie Dearest reveals the private Crawford, the woman desperate to be a mother trying to survive in a devastating industry that swallows careers thoughtlessly.
Carrie 1976 R18+
Director: Brian De Palma
3.30pm Saturday 11 June | 1hr 38mins | Buy Tickets
Carrie (Sissy Spacek) is a gawky, unloved teenager whose awakening sexuality is at odds with her puritanical mother’s fanatical teachings. Physically abused at home and shunned at school, an unexpected Prom invitation seems to be Carrie’s first chance at happiness. But when the Prom night ends in a vicious practical joke, Carrie’s despair manifests itself in a fiery telekinetic revenge. Brian De Palma’s breakthrough psycho-sexual horror yarn is adapted from a Stephen King novel.
Grey Gardens 1975 PG
Directors: Ellen Hovde, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Muffie Meyer
35MM transferred to DCP
1pm Sunday 5 June | 1hr 34min | Buy Tickets
Grey Gardens is the name of a neglected, sprawling estate gone to seed. The crumbling mansion was home to Edith Bouvier Beale, often referred to as “Big Edie,” and her daughter, “Little Edie.” The East Hampton, Long Island, home became the centre of quite a scandal when it was revealed in 1973 that the reclusive aunt and cousin to Jackie O were living in a state of poverty and filth. That’s the background to this 1976 film portrait by cinéma vérité pioneers Albert and David Maysles, but it’s only incidental to the fascinating story they discover inside the estate walls.
Abus de faiblesse (Abuse of Weakness) 2013 15+
Director/Script: Catherine Breillat
DCP | English Subtitles
1pm Sunday 12 June | 1rr 24min | Buy Tickets
Inspired by director Catherine Breillat’s true life experiences, Abuse of Weakness is an exploration of power and sex. Isabelle Huppert stars as Maud, a strong willed filmmaker who suffers a stroke. Bedridden, but determined to pursue her latest film project, she sees Vilko (Kool Shen), a con man who swindles celebrities, on a TV talk show. Interested in him for her new film, the two meet and Maud soon finds herself falling for Vilko’s manipulative charm as their parasitic relationship hurdles out of control.
GOMA Talks Cindy Sherman | Free
6.30pm Thursday 21 and 28 July
Join us for discussions on contemporary feminism.
‘In Character’ | Until 28 August 2016
Tickets on sale through qtix (booking fees apply) or at the GOMA Box Office from one hour prior to film screenings.
‘In Character’ is a cinema project developed in response to the exhibition Cindy Sherman. It brings together a cast of actresses and characters who challenge our expectations for the behaviour, desire and physicality of women onscreen.