Director: Bette Gordon | USA 1983 | 100 min
With its dirty roads and shabby porn cinemas, the wrecked downtown Manhattan of the early 1980s oozes into Bette Gordon's "Variety", like one of the cult saxophonist John Lurie's jazz serenades would ooze into an open window of the Lower East Side in the middle of the night. The provo-author Betty Acker's story about a young woman, who partly out of curiosity and partly because of a lack of funds accepts a nighttime job as a ticket seller at a scruffy cinema, is framed in atmospheric and saturated Cinemascope. But the "filmic" framing is just as little empty style as Bette Gordon's feminist approach is dry theory. As the young Christine starts becoming more and more fascinated by the older male guests of the establishment, she ventures onto a sexual and psychological minefield, with the spectator's own sex as a compass. If looks and desire are the basic components of the fiction film, it is an utterly "real" - but openly desirous - look that Gordon takes at New York's underworld through the eyes of her young protagonist. "I wanted to develop a story, which, like pornography, gives rise to a desire that is never satisfied." (Bette Gordon)
Variety (USA, 1983, 100 min.)
Director: Bette Gordon.