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Eat Your Makeup

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1968

Eat Your Makeup is a daring and eccentric avant-garde film directed by the legendary John Waters, released in his early career in 1968. The film stars Lizzy Temple Black, Berenica Cipcus, and the ever-iconic Divine, marking one of Waters' earliest collaborations with Divine, a relationship that would continue throughout his career to create some truly memorable characters and performances.

Presented as a silent black and white film with a runtime of 45 minutes, Eat Your Makeup is a striking cacophony of absurdist humor, uncompromising satire, and off-the-wall visuals. The film is intriguing in its form as well as its content, pushing the boundaries of traditional cinematic storytelling to provide an experience that’s as thought-provoking as it is entertainingly odd.

The film follows a scenario that is nothing short of bizarre. A crazed, masochistic governess and her obedient lover kidnap models off the street and force them to model themselves to death. They are captives in a mock-up fashion show that results in an unavoidable and peculiar end. The nihilist remarks on fashion, society's obsession with “model” appearances, and the ludicrous demands of beauty standards, are quintessential elements of John Waters' bold and unconventional cinematic vision.

At the heart of the film is Divine, the larger-than-life drag queen who was a longtime collaborator with Waters. Divine plays the infamous Jacqueline Kennedy in a re-enactment of the JFK assassination, a subplot that is as bold and subversive as it sounds. Her presence brings an irresistible charisma to the screen, an electrifying energy that definitely leaves a mark.

Lizzy Temple Black and Berenica Cipcus add to the charm of the film with their outrageous performances, lending an uncanny synchrony to the entire plot. Their exaggerated actions, rendered in black and white, resonate with the surreal aspect of John Waters' cinematic narrative.

As you might expect, the film is far from being a mainstream Hollywood production. Instead, its pleasure is in its conscious B-movie aesthetic, a rebellious inclination that makes the grandeur of John Waters’ works. The raw film style, offbeat shot sequences, and the blurring of the line between parody and a genuinely horrifying scenario, signal the experimental essence. It’s a testament to Waters' pioneering implementation of "camp" aesthetics in film.

Eat Your Makeup is also a reflection of the climate at the time it was created, a time of deep social transformations and contestations. It's sarcastic in its commentary on the expectations placed on women, presenting the concept of beauty in its most grotesque form, and posing interesting questions about society's superficial standards. It's a critique on the facade behind the attractive veneer of high fashion, which demolishes personal identity and enforces a distorted version of beauty.

On balance, one could see Eat Your Makeup as an interesting footnote in the history of independent film – a raw, young work that announces the distinctive and confrontational vision of a filmmaker who would go on to make his name as a cult cinematic artist. It's a film that revels in its own strangeness, a flamboyant testament to Waters' irreverent audacity, and the beginnings of some of his long-standing friendships and collaborations.

In conclusion, Eat Your Makeup is not just another movie, it is a piece of cinematic history. It’s a case study in how to use unconventional methods and controversial topics to create a unique masterpiece. The film is best viewed within the spectrum of John Waters' broader body of work, a somewhat twisted, yet intriguing exploration of standards of beauty and societal norms in a world that's often more surreal than any movie could invent. It's a discomforting, gross, and undeniably fascinating experience that's sure to leave a lasting impression.

Eat Your Makeup is a Comedy, Horror movie released in 1968. It has a runtime of 45 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.1..

7.1/10
Director
John Waters
Stars
Maelcum Soul, David Lochary, Divine
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