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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

On Blu-ray - David Hare is tickled pink by Criterion's edition of John Waters MULTIPLE MANIACS


Mink Stole pleasures Divine with a set of rosary beads in John Water's second feature (after Mondo Trasho) from 1970, Multiple Maniacs now out on Criterion Blu-ray. The picture is delivered in near pristine technical perfection, with a new "official" theatrical ratio of 1.78 (all these Waters films were routinely screened in Academy back when), with a commentary track from the director that is possibly even more entertaining than the dialogue which is itself something of an archive for the great strangled Baltimore vowel.

While I find myself not going near reviewing a Waters movie from one year to another this was undoubtedly the last hurrah to the sixties at the dawn of the seventies from people who inhabited it so wholly, that they actually made it. Criterion has interestingly seen fit to simultaneously release Hal Ashby's farewell to the seventies from 1979, Being There in another superlative new 4K transfer to Blu-ray. The gap between these two apparently divergent films is narrower than might at first appear. Water's sometimes labored but often cleanly direct satire and reverberances from Bunuel and the great romantic poets of blasphemy - Sade, Dali etc, and the anti suburban, bourgeois core now seems more necessary than ever, especially with a current left commentariat in the Anglo west suffocating in its own smug self annointed correctness and a wilful aversion to recognize the failure of politics in any meaningful way while said politics increasingly becomes an arm of business. On the score of political commitment Waters occupies a rare canon with truly radicals artists like Pasolini and Fassbinder. Now more than ever do I welcome something as savage and funny in its attack on bourgeois (and liberal) complacency..

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