Press Release from Sydney Opera House

Be afraid, be very afraid…the brilliantly entertaining filmmaker, writer and shock auteur supremo, John Waters is coming to Sydney this October to curate a film festival like no other – Double Features from Hell, from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 October at the Sydney Opera House. Waters will unleash his favourite feel bad movies, based around the themes of Shock, Terror, Goddess and Sex. Prepare to be corrupted….

"I invite the Australian moviegoers into my cinematic world to show them radically intelligent and disturbing movies that will push them closer to the edge of cinema insanity. Here are films for adventuresome audiences who think they’ve seen everything." John Waters

In Double Features from Hell audiences will be able to get up close and personal with the man William Burroughs once called “The Pope of Trash”, through eight films that have been handpicked by Waters from both his own oeuvre and selected favourites from other filmmakers. Each session incorporates two themed feature films from different genres, an introduction by Waters and a Q&A session following each screening. Exploring violence, terrorism, sexual desire, joyous self-destruction and both healthy and unhealthy deviancy, Waters will provide a weekend of movie-going sure to excite and startle any ticket buyer.

John Waters is a legend among film fans, who has forged an unwavering path in his quest to give bad taste a good name. In 1967, he made his first 16-mm film, Eat Your Makeup, the story of a deranged governess and her lover who kidnap fashion models and force them to model themselves to death. Mondo Trasho, Waters' first feature length film, was completed in 1969 despite production grinding to a halt when the director and two actors were arrested for "participating in a misdemeanour, to wit: indecent exposure.

In 1972 Waters created what would become the most notorious film in American independent cinema of the 1970's, Pink Flamingos. Centred on the battle to secure the title "Filthiest People Alive," Pink Flamingos turned Waters into a cult celebrity and went on to become a smash success.

In Hairspray (1988), Waters created "an almost big-budget comedy extravaganza about star-struck teenage celebrities in 1962, their stage mothers and their quest for mental health." The film was a box office and critical success, later turned into a Broadway production, and with a remake of the film released in 2007 starring John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer and Christopher Walken. Later hit films include Cry-Baby with Johnny Depp and Serial Mom with Kathleen Turner.

Reviewing his live show, the LA Times described Waters as “an erudite and gifted raconteur who doesn't take himself too seriously. Waters never seems to tire of wallowing in the dregs of pop culture, but his love of campy sex and tabloid mayhem is married with an intense appreciation for literature, history and high art.” Waters’ love of art saw him selected as a member of the International Jury for the 2011 Venice Art Biennale this year.

Pink Flamingos, the ultimate trash masterpiece, was again in theatres for a 25th Anniversary re-release in 1997, complete with new footage. Commenting on the long-lasting popularity of the film, Waters proudly boasts, "it's hard to offend three generations, but it looks like I've succeeded."

The Double Features from Hell film festival will be part of Waters’ first national tour. Waters will also perform his deviously funny one man show, This Filthy World with shows in Perth (19 Oct), Canberra (25 Oct), Brisbane (26 Oct), Adelaide (27 Oct) and Melbourne (29 Oct).


Program Notes by John Waters

Shock Friday 21 October @ 7pm

Irreversible (Gaspar Noe, 2002) Monica Belluci, Vincent Cassel and Albert Dupontel

A terrifyingly brutal take on rape, revenge and, yes, intimacy that will leave you spinning in cinematic wonder.

“If you meet the director, ask him for your $10 back and punch him in the mouth” New York Daily Press

Antichrist (Lars Von Trier, 2009) William Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg

If Ingmar Bergman had committed suicide, gone to hell, and came back to earth to direct an exploitation/art film for drive-ins, this is the movie he would have made.

Saturday 22 October @ 12pm

United 93 (Paul Greengrass 2006)

A real time account of the events on United Flight 93, one of the planes hijacked on 9/11 that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania when passengers attempted to foil the terrorist plot.

Cecil B. Demented (John Waters 2000) An insane independent film director and his renegade group of teenage filmmakers kidnap an A-list Hollywood actress and force her to star in their underground film.

Goddess Saturday 22 October @ 6pm

Boom! (Joseph Losey 1968) Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

The best failed art film of all time! Elizabeth Taylor as the richest woman in the world and Richard Burton as The Angel Of Death. Beyond bad, the other side of camp – a film so genuinely beautiful and awful that there is only one word to describe it: perfect.

Fuego (Armando Bo 1969)

The man who has been called “the Argentinean Russ Meyer” directs his cinematic goddess, Isabel Sarli, in this unintentionally hilarious and amazingly politically incorrect tale of nymphomania.

Sex Sunday 23 October @ 12pm

Zoo (Robinson Devor 2007)

Jaw-droppingly sympathetic documentary about a man and his secret sexual encounter with a horse.

A Dirty Shame (John Waters 2004) Tracy Ullman, Johnny Knoxville and Selma Blair

Sylvia Stickles, an uptight, middle-aged, repressed woman turns into a sex addict after suffering a concussion. Experiencing a carnal lust she cannot control, Sylvia teams up with an underground subculture of sex addicts in suburban Baltimore and fights an epic battle of decency vs depravity.


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