domenica 1 marzo 2015

Polyester in Odorama

Yesterday night I went with a group of friends to see the cult movie Polyester (1981) by American independent film-maker John Waters in a small cinema near La Sorbonne, the Studio Galande.
This arty cinema is particularly famous for hosting every Saturday night the Rocky Horror Picture Show, but yesterday evening there was another event which attracted a small but very enthusiastic group of people: Polyester in ODORAMA!
And I'm sure you're wondering what it is...
Strange but true, this film was originally conceived this way, as a smelly movie.
At the entrance of the cinema every person receives a card with 10 numbers on it, and every now and then - during the vision - you have to scratch the number and smell the good (or bad!) odour corresponding to that scene:
The story of Polyester is absolutely hilarious: Francine Fishpaw (played by the drag queen Divine, the main actress in any Waters film) is a housewife in suburban Baltimore. She wishes to have a "normal American family" but she's far from it: her (unfaithful) husband is running the local cinema porno, their daughter Lulu is hanging around with the worst guys in town and their son Dexter is a foot fetishist and a drug addict. Not to mention the fact that Francine's mother, once she hears that her daughters is divorcing from a very rich man (porno always pays well!), tries to steal her money in very a mean way: she makes a deal with a good looking man, Todd Tomorrow, to seduce Francine and have her divorce settlement.
The only ray of light in Francine's life is her best friend, Cuddles, once a housekeeper and now a very wealthy woman (she inherited form the family she was working for). When Dexter is put in prison for assaulting a woman (well, her foot...), and Lulu declares to be pregnant and wanting to have an abortion, Francine seeks comfort in alcohol. But just when things look very bad, some good surprises are on their way...
Todd Tomorrow (Tab Hunter) and Francine Fishpaw (Divine)
I adore John Waters cinema. His sense of humour is one of the most intelligent and whimsical I have ever come across in movies. To make you an example, in Polyester Todd Tomorrow is the owner of a Drive In where they show just arty movies (!!!):
The idea that in a Baltimore Drive In they're programming the trilogy of Marguerite Duras, one of the most intellectual things ever, is just too ridiculous. Not only that: at the restaurant of the theatre, people are eating oysters and drinking champagne and Divine (with a very perplex look) flips through the pages of the Cahiers du Cinéma...
The other character to die for in the movie is Cuddles: a fat, old, toothless, ignorant woman that goes around in a fancy car with chauffeur, wears dresses to play tennis or ride a horse and is desperately seeking the right evening gown for her debutant ball... believe it or not!
Cuddles Kovinsky (Edith Massey)
The Odorama gimmick was funny and a bit crazy too. 
If you're curious to know, this is the list of the smells we were able to "enjoy":
1. A rose flower 
2. Flatulence (yes, they can!)
3. Model Airplane Glue
4. Pizza
5. Gasoline in a can
6. Skunk (awful!)
 7. Natural Gas from an oven
8. A new car smell of leather upholstery (my favourite one!)
9. Dirty shoes (disgusting!)
10. Air Freshener from an aerosol can
Ah, the things that cinema lovers wouldn't do for their passion!
I wish to thank my friends Alessandro, Nico, Arco, Francesca and Valentina for having shared this amazing experience with me.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be for the next time, guys!

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