Pink Flamingos

From Academic Kids

Pink Flamingos is a 1972 film directed by John Waters. It made an underground star of the flamboyant and obese drag queen Divine. The independent film also stars David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole, Danny Mills, Channing Wilroy, Cookie Mueller, Paul Swift, and Edith Massey. It was shot on weekends in the vicinity of Baltimore, Maryland.

Pink Flamingos is a movie which many people consider to be glorious, grotesque, hugely funny, and at times unwatchable. The story centers around an incestuous family, headed by Divine, which revels in its fame as being "The Filthiest People Alive." An embittered couple, Connie and Raymond Marble, jealous of the family's fame, tries to upstage them in their filthiness.

The film was made on a low budget and the acting and production values mirror that fact. Yet the film is nonetheless a roller coaster ride of dark humor and bad taste, despite its unsympathetic characters.

Divine lives under the pseudonym "Babs Johnson" with her egg-loving mother, Mama Edie, delinquent son Crackers, and Cotton, a like-minded companion whose simple pleasure is voyeurism. They reside in a mobile home (in front of which can be found a pair of pink, plastic flamingos, accounting for the film's title) on Philpot Road in Phoenix, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore (John Waters' hometown). The Marbles set out to destroy the tight-knit family but come unstuck in the process.

Some of the film's more shocking scenes include a sex scene involving a live chicken (which was killed in the process and subsequently eaten), and a finale in which Divine eats fresh dog feces.

The film's narrative does not bear up under close scrutiny (a package is mailed and delivered in the same afternoon) and there are scenes which are hard to watch but, according to interviews, this was exactly what Waters intended. Waters himself called the film an "exercise in poor taste." Many viewers, in fact, watch Pink Flamingos in order to be shocked.

In 1997 the film was re-released, with an improved stereo soundtrack (which, unlike the original, was made available to the general public, on compact disc), and after the end of the original movie the new version contained a brief video commentary by Waters, plus a few scenes cut from the original release. The re-release was rated NC-17 by the Motion Picture Association of America.

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