Do you love him?
If you do, then "This Filthy World" is a must see.
Do you loathe him?
If you do, then "This Filthy World" ain't gonna change your mind. It still may, however, manage to make you laugh, snicker, cringe and maybe even let loose with a few "AWWWWWS."
In "This Filthy World," a performance documentary based upon appearances Waters made before an obviously adoring college crowd.
Waters, quirky writer/director extraordinaire, has made a living exploring topics that no reasonable writer/director would explore. He writes what many of us think, but would never have the balls to say.
In "This Filthy World," Waters waxes not so eloquently on a variety of topics of interest to his college crowd ranging from giving oral pleasure to a professor to relax them all the way to autographing used tampons.
This is John Waters, after all.
The inherent limitations of what is essentially a spoken word concert film are evident throughout "This Filthy World," and your ability to appreciate it rests almost solely on your ability to appreciate the quirky, eccentric and brutally honest Waters in all his glory.
While he treads little new ground here for those familiar with his work, listening to Waters speak is almost an artform unto itself. If you appreciate Waters, then the moment the man walks onstage is entertaining itself. When Waters enters from a mock confessional, one instantly knows this journey is going to be a fun one.
There is a sweetness to John Waters that is hard to deny. Intertwined with his sexual perversions, taboo-driven insights and cross-dressing sweethearts is the heart of a man who isn't nearly as bitter, jaded and twisted as one might believe from watching his films.
As directed by Jeff Garlin, of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," this straightforward documentary does Waters the greatest justice it possibly could...it allows him to be himself.
As you listen to Waters describe officiating at the wedding of former porn-star turned actress Traci Lords, it becomes abundantly clear that Waters sees in Lords what nobody else has taken the time to see...a human being and not just another fuck goddess.
As could be expected, Waters devotes much time to his days with the semi-legendary Divine. The affection as he speaks is obvious and, again, incredibly sweet.
"This Filthy World" is part Broadway and part college lecture...yet, most of all it's John Waters, front and center in all his fantabulous glory.
Fresh off its run at the Toronto International Film Festival, "This Filthy World" is just getting loaded for an arthouse run in the United States.
In "This Filthy World," we get the same John Waters we've known and either loved or hated all these years. Yet, we get something more...we get to look inside what has always seemed like a perverted madness to see the twisted yet gentle genius inside. In "This Filthy World" that we live in, there's a need for more men like John Waters...men who say what they think, how they feel and what they believe...men who look through even the darkest holes of humanity and, somehow, still find a reason to laugh and a reason to love.
|© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic
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Richard Propes, The Independent Critic