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  • Female Perversions
    • Female Perversions
    • Runtime:119 min
    • Release Date:2014-10-30 22:24:57
    • Director: Susan Streitfeld
    • Genres: Drama
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:Female Perversions
Auhtor:

   

The title of this film is dangerously misleading because the film might
be thought to be pornographic, and many people who might otherwise find
it interesting will not see it. (The contrary is also the case, that
all the wrong people will want to watch it because they are titillated
by the title. They will also react with violent antipathy, in the wake
of their disappointment. The choice of title seems to have been a
deliberate act of provocation.) The German title, translated, is
'Fantasies of a Woman', which is rather milder. The film is a feminist
essay, and the title is intended to be ironical, the 'female
perversions' referred to being those imposed upon women by a
conventional male-dominated society, so that for instance being a
housewife is regarded as one type of 'female perversion'. It seems
somehow natural that the wildly experimental Tilda Swinton would have
to be in this film: indeed, how could she say no? How could such a film
be made without her? She seems to be everywhere that people and films
are pushing the envelope. As usual, she is breathtakingly brilliant. A
surprising addition to the cast is Frances Fisher, who made such an
impact as Angie, the red-headed waitress in the diner, in the
intriguing television series 'Strange Luck' in 1995-6, at about this
same time. Here she does some rather unnerving 'exotic dance' routines,
which all goes to show something, I'm still trying to decide what, but
whatever the reason for this is, she does it very well and one would
think she had been a stripper or a showgirl all her life if one did not
know she had instead been an actress. Tilda Swinton is electric here as
a career gal who is so tense she might snap like a wire stretched too
taut. She is about to be made a judge, God help us! (Many judges are
crazy or weird anyway, but she would be more so than most, as the film
makes all too clear.) Tilda Swinton portrays an extreme neurotic, and
'looking good' is essential to her, so she is always doing and re-doing
her lipstick (an insecure woman's last refuge). She is a control freak
and insanely superstitious. For instance, if she cannot wear her white
suit for an interview with the Governor of California (not Arnie, a
fictional one) for a judgeship, because it is 'lucky', she falls apart.
Her kleptomaniac sister sees to it that she cannot wear the suit to the
interview. Things are pretty tense like this throughout, and there are
many fantasy elements to this film written, produced, and directed by
women with women for women. I don't believe this film can really be
excused by a 'women searching for their identities' justification, and
if one approaches it earnestly from that angle (which may have been the
earnest intention of the makers, for all I know), it is a failure which
verges on parody sometimes, and has pretentious aspects. The merits of
the film are different, and concern the intensity of portrayal and the
mysterious depths of character revealed, especially of hidden or
suppressed motivations. The lesbian aspects of the film are not
central, but merely a part of the evolving self-realization of Tilda
Swinton's character. I am firmly convinced that men can never
understand women and women can never understand men. I first came to
realize this in my teens when the novelist Pearl Buck said to me that
'men and women are completely different species and can never hope to
understand one another'. That shocked me a lot, I never forgot it, and
it has been repeatedly verified. I have now come to the conclusion that
Nature has designed things this way. The imperative of Nature is the
propagation of the species. If men and women understood each other,
that would get in the way of propagation, and many fewer babies would
be born. Consequently, evolutionary pressures have seen to it that this
can never happen, in order to safeguard the future of the species. That
is why men like myself who do not regard women as inferior beings (as
many of my gender definitely do) are so intrigued by 'the mystery of
women' and interested to see attempts to make films like this one where
women contemplate women and try to understand themselves. It is true
that there are no admirable characters on offer here, and that they are
all pretty horrible people. Nevertheless, this film manages to be
fascinating, although it is understandable that it would cause a lot of
contradictory reactions, some of them violently opposed to it, and some
admiring and appreciative. If we want films to punch us in the ribs
instead of putting us to sleep, this one certainly qualifies. This is
what is called 'independent film making', and long may it continue.

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*** This review may contain spoilers ***

On not becoming archetypal FEMALE PERVERSIONS, based upon FEMALE
PERVERSIONS: THE TEMPTATIONS OF EMMA BOVARY (by Louise Kaplan) is a
good indie movie about a particular woman , also about women's world
and female representation of the world. I enjoyed it a lot, and took it
in with delight. The cast is really distinguished.

I feared some experimental junk, but no, the movie is interesting and
well—conceived and marvelously written, more interesting than any
conventionally suspenseful flick.

It's one of the few good American movies of the '90s. And the fact is
that Streitfeld (unknown to me) rolls the ball. She gets the ball
rolling and shows she means business.

Very art-house, very indie, FEMALE PERVERSIONS is directed by Susan
Streitfeld, written by Julie Hebert and Susan Streitfeld, and performed
by Tilda Swinton, Amy Madigan (as 'Evelyn''s sister), Karen Sillas (as
the psychiatrist, Renée, Evelyn's lover), Frances Fisher, Marcia Cross
(whose fans should be aware that her tits are on display in this
movie!), Paulina Porizkova (as Langley, Evie's rival). They're all
pretty fine girls.

In the nude scenes, the genitalia are unfortunately blurred; in
exchange, almost each actress displays her tits—beginning with Mrs.
Swinton, of course; then Amy Madigan, Karen Sillas, Frances Fisher,
Marcia Cross—so, a tits parade. These girls honestly show what they
got. Swinton, Sillas, Cross have awesome bodies.

Mrs. Swinton is indeed beautiful and she delivers a fine performance.
Poor Evelyn is a woman of career; she is beautiful, ambitious, angry,
neurotic, insecure, sexually voracious, puzzled, confused, scared,
morally degenerate; sexuality and career are the two coordinates of her
life ,and she's consumed by her sexual desires. It's a nice, sharp
study in comportment and reactions, an identity quest. The story has
some kind of a psychoanalytical twist; Evie reaches to a childhood
trauma. A bit naturalistic, a bit expressionist as well, the movie is a
wholly feminine creation, hence somewhat viscous. There are grotesque
and fancy touches as well. 'We all dream.' That's hardcore indie, babe.

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I saw this movie on a rented DVD in 2008. It is really bad, first of
all they should sue the microphone guy for letting the micro appear so
much into the picture of the movie (I never saw that happening before
in any of the movies I have seen…..), and the director for such a
lack of diligence and professionalism. If that kind of thing is let to
happen, what can be said of the efforts input in other parts of the
movie???

Streitfeld seems to try to improvise herself as Lynch in some scenes
(in the house with the 3 women and the girl) but it is not a success at
all…

Yes, if you see that movie you will see Swinton naked. But I am not
sure that it is really an attraction… the former model playing the
new attorney in the movie would have been a much safer bet.

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This film is like no other: I find it indescribably brilliant and
subtle. If you watch it many times over, as I have, you will discover
infinite layers. (Even the props have hidden messages in them!) This
film is so on-target about the complexities of being a woman in our
time. I feel it should be required watching for 20 year old women
entering the real world, followed by a discussion with women who have
lived in it for a while. It seems like it might be a difficult film for
a man to understand. Perhaps some of the responses here are from people
who never should have picked up this movie in the first place, a case
of bad labeling or description on the jacket. I was recently reminded
of the existence of this film, although it is in my collection. I will
presently look for anything that this screenwriter/director has made
since, as she is nothing short of brilliant.

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