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Variety: 1983

1.7 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The sexually charged tale of a woman s journey of self-discovery, Bette Gordon s Variety is a fascinating independent film that challenges common notions about feminism and pornography. Emerging out of the underground NYC arts scene that produced the late 80s boom in American independent cinema, Variety contains the contributions of an impresive array of talent, including cinematographer Tom DiCillo (Living in Oblivion), actor Luis Guzmán (Boogie Nights), a script by the late cult novelist Kathy Acker, and a score by actor and musician John Lurie (Stranger Than Paradise, Down By Law). Christine (Sandy McLeod), a bright and unassuming young woman, takes a job selling tickets at a porno theater near Times Square. Instead of distancing herself from the dark and erotic nature of this milieu, Christine soon develops an obsession that begins to consume her life. The character s reaction unexpectedly flips normal gender roles; director Gordon daringly twists feminist ideology by showing a woman who finds self-expression through an interest in pornography. Variety becomes even more provocative when it dramatizes the changes that occur in Christine s relationships with both Mark (Will Patton), her boyfriend, and Louie, a dangerous-looking patron of the theater. Few films deal honestly with a female s sexual point-of-view, and particularly with the way in which she develops her own fantasy world. Controversial and highly personal, Variety does just that, and in so doing announces itself as the major film of a director who embodies the essence of independent cinema.

Review

A Daring Departure Into the Dark, Obsessional World of Female Fantasy. --Linda Gross, Los Angeles Times

A Feminist VERTIGO. --LA Weekly

Sandy McLeod s deliriously obsessive performance as Christine is the perfect blend of blond beauty and intelligent watchfulness. --New York Newsday

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Sandy McLeod, Luis Guzman, Will Patton, Spalding Gray, Nan Goldin
  • Directors: Bette Gordon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: KINO INTERNATIONAL
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2008
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 1.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0015S2P0O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,250 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is the second film I watched this week that was mis-marketed with a misguiding box cover and press. Variety is neither a "a Daring Departure Into the Dark, Obsessional World of Female Fantasy," nor is it a"sexually-charged tale" in the sense one thinks of sexually-charged tales. It's intent is not to titillate.

It's a character study and a very interesting one. I see parallels here to Taxi Driver; a depiction of urban (NYC) alienation and isolation and an individual's reaction to their environment. Here the character is turning to sex instead of violence. Which is to say Variety is not a sexually charged tale, in the same way Taxi Driver is not an action movie.

It's cerebral, character-driven, meditatively paced. It's not Scorcese ...but ... it's not boring.
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Format: VHS Tape
A must for anyone who loves avant-garde author Kathy Acker since she wrote the script. The book centres on the world of pornography and draws an interesting feminist critique. Many film critiques deal with the "male gaze" but this film centres on the "female gaze": the protagonist's objectification of the men who are objectifying her by their pornographic interests. A long, slow meditation this film inverts male-female power structures and gives one a non-sensationalized look of the hegemonic male world of pornography. The film does aptly well for having been shot on a shoe-string budget, and the soundtrack is by the same guy that did Jarmucsh's "Down By Law."
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Format: DVD
VARIETY is a riveting and brilliant movie. The movie starts with the protagonist, Christine, swimming laps in a pool. We see her supple body and athletic strength as she swims, and her flat stomach in her red and white striped swimsuit. As the camera comes in very close, Christine herself disappears, and all that is left is her candy-striped swimsuit moving through the water. Next, she speaks to a friend in the locker room while the girls get dressed. The entire shot is played in a static wide two-shot in the mirror, as they look at themselves and each other. The camera has strategically failed so far to capture these women as objects of a voyeuristic gaze, even though they are wearing skimpy garments such as a bathing suit, form-fitting tights, and a bra. It becomes clear that we are witnessing something different than what we are used to, which is scantily clad young women filmed with no erotic intent. And we feel struck by the oddness of that, although it's a locker room sequence that any woman would find very natural in real life. It's already clear, in just these two short sequences, that this is a film that will question who is looking, what the camera records, and the nature of cinematic voyeurism.

But for all that, it is never didactic, dry, or dull. The film is highly entertaining and well-paced throughout as it details the Christine's journey into the world of sexual desire through her discovery of pornography. Getting a job as a ticket-taker in a porn theater, she becomes curious about the men who frequent the theater and about what they consume, and herself becomes a voyeur to their world and to one man in particular, whom she stalks.
Read more ›
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Format: DVD
the cover shows sandy mcleod in a nice leather outfit. that's about a 10 second clip in the movie. this thing is dreadful. it is not a sexually charged tale as stated in the synopsis. there is no nudity, no sex, and nothing close to either. it's about a woman who works as a ticket taker at an adult movie theater. she accepts her job and that's about it. again, the synopsis is not even close when it says she is gets obsessed with pornography. she basically stalks a date that stood her up. and that's it. if this movie is suppose to be an independent film about feminism, then this movie has pushed feminism back 50 years. the dialogue is dull and the filming is flat. rent this if you must, but i caution you about spending hard-earned money on a copy.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Maybe you have to be a New Yorker to appreciate this film. Maybe you need to have seen at least one independently produced film from the 80s (for NYC, start with Jarmusch), or any films by women filmmakers in the 70s/80s (shudder to read reviews by these naysayers of "Cleo From 9 - 5," or "Jeanne Dielman," or "Born in Flames," or "Liquid Sky," or "Dyketactics,") to realize how quintessentially honest this film is. Christine is not an angst-filled, alienated, and lonely woman, unlike the men that are in her laboratory. Quite the contrary, she is self-aware, probing, deeply curious, fearless (I wouldn't go to the old Fulton Fish Market in the middle of the night by myself!, now or especially in the 80's), and with a deep quest for greater self discovery. This film shares nothing in common with the thesis of "Taxi Driver." Those who compare the two don't get this film. NYC is the same backdrop, but certainly not the two characters. Christine shares nothing in common with Travis Bickle. She is not simmering with explosive violence; she is simmering with the awakening of her sexuality, one that doesn't conform with what women were taught was "proper." Has no one leaving reviews here read "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin? Written in the 1800s? This film is delicious for its verite observation of Christine's life, which is mostly pedestrian, inconsequential, ordinary, but shows beautifully the nascence and development of her growing embrace of her own emboldened carnal desires. Who could miss all this? Christine's obviously never been a shy one, so what unfolds is perfectly in keeping with her assertive (and I daresay ill-advised nocturnal travails to obviously not safe place - but isn't that the point?) personality and quest for what she feels within. Bravo, Bette Gordon!Read more ›
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