directors:Stewart Main and Peter Wells
starring:Jennifer Ward -Lealand,Kevin Smith,Lisa Chappel
If you like the idea of Derek Jerman colliding head-on with Sally Potter's Orlando and travelling to New Zealand,where they meet up with some bodice -ripping Visconti disciples,all with a backdrop of Fellini sets,then this desperately decadent,antipodean comedy is for you.A most lurid and lavish first feature by Main and Wells(who are also the writers),it is pure Gothic joy.
Dorothea and her companion Anne run adrapery shop in an imaginary town called Hope. But behind the gauze curtains of this innocuous- looking store also lives a sister addicted to opium,supplied by opportunistic politician Fraser.Into this nest of conflict strides a divinely handsome,penniless immigrant called Lawrence(Smith),just off the ship and chosed by Dorothea(Ward-Lealand) as a suitable husband for her chemically disturbed sister.Lawrence,however,would rather spend his time with Dorothea,whose flickering in his direction forces Anne(Chappel)to push her into a marriage of convenience with the wicked Fraser,to secure her own position in Dorothea's heart.
Then there are the rubies,death by typhoid,a shooting at the opera and the boat that sails in from the midst...Confused?Don't be,because it's all done with such gush and surreal gloriousness that it doen't really matter what is going on. Shot in super 40's Hollywood style with high drama and low morals,DESPERATE
REMEDIES is one of the most visually arresting and decorative films of the year.
Slipping in at the end of the year,like Cinderella at the ball,it's high camp in the best tradition,pumped up with melodrama and sizzling with sexual furtiveness.
Main and Well's documentaries and shorts have dealt in the past with sexual and historical identity.DESPERATE REMEDIES,their first feature,is all that,and much,much more.
RATINGS: 9 out of 10
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