This Filthy World
Jeff Garlin’sThis Filthy World is a belly-bustingly funny portrait of cult director John Waters’ “autobiographical stand-up.” The man who William Burroughs once described as “The Pope of Trash” is (or at least once was) the Rabelais of our times—a man who, by exploring the limits of acceptable behaviour, has relentlessly skewered social norms and unexamined hypocrisy. Garlin’s camera doesn’t have to do much. The director just sits still and lets his subject do the work.
In New York City, Waters strolls out from a tacky vaudeville crypt and proceeds to tell the story of his life in film, complete with digressions on everything from how to improve literacy levels (“only blow teachers!”) to the Bush daughers (“those are roles drag queens were born to play”). While the stories behind his earliest experiments in film and scatology (Waters famously had former boyfriend Divine eat feces in 1972’s Pink Flamingos) are rich in perverse and hilarious detail, the tales of his later, more mainstream films (Hairspray, Pecker, tend to be more mundane. But then, just as you’re about to check your watch, Waters launches into the crazy tale of how he baptized ex-porn star Traci Lords. If this film is anything to go by, Waters’ on-stage conversation with Shortbus director John Cameron Mitchell on Tuesday, Sept. 12th, should be an uproarious evening.
This Filthy World screens on Thursday, Sept. 14, 9 p.m. (Ryerson) and Friday, Sept. 15, 9:30 a.m. (Cumberland 3) “