Sunday, March 17, 2013

27th London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival opening night

Divine in Pink Flamingos
Yes, Yes, I am late getting to this. I did attend opening night, but other things intervened before I could report back. I have now seen a handful of films onscreen and on DVD and thoughts are percolating.

But, back to opening night. I Am Divine promised glamour and drag and certainly delivered onscreen, but I was surprised how few attendees followed suit: I only spotted one bouffant, thankfully not blocking my view. Harris Glenn Milstead, better known as trash diva Divine, provided the subject for Jeffrey Schwarz's documentary, which was crisply delivered in a plethora of archive footage and interviews. Having only a passing knowledge of Divine, I learned much about his life and working relationship with John Waters, the two growing up six doors apart in Baltimore.

My only complaint was that the clips of the films were so brief that one couldn't really form a judgement on either their quality or of Divine's performances, and as the narrative arc was about his desire to be seen as a serious actor, that would have been appreciated. But, as a document of 1970s underground US and queer cinema, it was a delight.

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