Flashing Party Intrigues

Santinita Del Arquwez stars in this dark-yet-understated off-beat turgid at times pedantic period cult indy feature from Darnicle Pictures.  Dunder Stankovs (Arquwez), purveyor of a squash plantation, teams up with Melanie Ann Sumway (Fiadora Bonkers), a cigar accountant known for her catchphrase “If I’m involved, there’s gotta be some way because that’s my name, Melanie Ann Sumway”, in hatching a scheme to bare their breasts in front of President Vlakspek (Foligraphy Cmokoblans) during an upcoming press conference before the Joint Chiefs of Graft.

Making her film debut, Dr. Galia Stephancrawl plays the friend who warned against it, Mistress Iarcolona Fowlcatcher, a mid forties Harvard professor who had been recently removed from her tenure pending an investigation into an incident that involved underpants cameras in her lecture hall.  Several young men reported that she threatened to show videos of their large hairy reproductive organs and penises to faculty and students if they did not do well on an upcoming exam.  The freshman were so embarrassed that they never returned to college and became chicken priests.  Nothing further is known about the incident, and the film never reveals the outcome.  All we know is that it happened on April 4, 1986 and that she had to be extricated from trouble by her father, a powerful lobbyist for the cream soda industry.

Most of the film details Fowlcatcher’s monologue in urging her recalcitrant friends against carrying out their plot.  She explains that it would be in bad taste, that it would make them seem immature in the eyes of their worthy peers, that they would be arrested by well-meaning state police and sent who knows where until their fathers would have to bail them out of prison.  She talks on about how governments get wildly out of control sometimes, but warns that acting out will only make things even worse and refers as proof to her colleague Dr. Timothy Leary who she claims made unwelcome advances toward her during a swearing-in ceremony (he claims she was into it).

About a quarter of the way into the diatribe that was made in one take that lasted over 85 minutes, in which Dr. Sephancrawl was not even in the proper costume, causing there to be a misunderstanding about the era in which the event takes place, thus the camera crew is heard audibly balking in the back corner of the set.  Fowlcatcher's hair was done in circa 1983 style while her clothes were clearly from the late 1985, early 1986 era, a gargantuan difference that was easily noticed by most good critics who, due to that fact, dismissed the entire project variously as “film school masturbation” and "Displaying voyeurism, incessantly-masculine, ultra-exclusive subjective me-yelling among post-Warholian, hipster-nue anti-queer, proto-Raphaelite empty, disaffected-yet-somehow-doing-great white sadism and throbbing narcissism paranoia masquerading as art while the self-styled 'artists' count the revenue ironically in shades of developing addiction to oversleep for all that is boring in a daydream to the soul forever while they cannot be abolished due to realistic, feasible fear of revolt".

However, a little less than half way through the speech, which includes references to every event in history that was relevant to the telling of the story, including non-historical anecdotes about Moses and even a mention of Noah’s impossible ark, those who stormed off and punched through the ticket booth slot missed a great squint that most believe may have been the most accurate facial expression ever captured in film.

We start to learn that Mistress Fowlcatcher had faced some issues in her past that caused her to become very serious all the time.  Her husband would not let her look at his genitals when they made love.  Despite this nod to the most notorious sexual difference between men and women, the issue of gender is never discussed in the film.  Dr. Stephancrawl later revealed in a highly popular Miniature Woodwork Magazine interview spread that she had wished gender would have been covered but that she had no artistic control over the project.  She added that Darnicle Pictures still owed her royalties for a line of underpants cams the company marketed as “Mistress Fowlcatcher’s Famous Camera From the Film”.

Mistress Fowlcatcher implores Stankovs and Sumway not to go through with their plan.  She says they would look ridiculous, that onlookers might have their tastes offended, that they may find it off-putting, that it may arouse feelings of inadequacy and questions about sexual preferences and gender identities that do not mesh with their preconceived notions.  All of this would need to be explained to everyone’s four-year-old usually daughter. Fowlcatcher was clear on this point – the whole plot the two had laid out was of a poorly thought out nature and the overall goals of the plan were provocatively, and, indeed, strikingly missing in action.

Fowlcatcher continued with her speech that took up the majority of the film, pointing out that respectable people usually did not do that sort of thing.  She also stated that it was a fact that such behavior was frowned upon by custom in western society.  She was quick to point out that American society was indeed a part of western society for people who were not aware.

No one answered Fowlcatcher, who by this point was on stage at Farnagy Hall in Farmridge, Kansas, which is a nice theater that has a certain charm to the locals despite the fact that it does not have a roof after a tornado came by and took it.  However, despite the fact that no one in the film either on or off camera was aroused to engage her in a dialogue, we thought there was one question that might be asked.  What about rock concerts?

I am sure that Fowlcatcher would have objected on the basis of irrelevance, but it makes one think that this film has endless possibilities in concerns to how it might be thought of or analyzed by the viewer.  One doesn’t just idly watch Flashing Party Intrigues, one lives it. It really has an open-ended tone that lends itself to the escapist creed that says if there is a fire off in the distance, the protagonist has to ride there eventually to buy hard tack or inquire about a relative taken by natives, and will likely face direct adversity from people who know something that he doesn’t know yet.  The audience knows but they ain’t talking.  Think of E.T. when he wanders off.  That is the exact opposite of what I am saying.

After a while into the filmibuster, there is a feeling among devoted fans that it might go on forever and that would be a good thing.  I personally imagined that speech being given the entire time that I wrote this, and it impressed upon me the anarchic principle of anti-brevity, a certain fondness for the slow going and matter-of-fact style that has not been seen perhaps since Rembrandt or at least Von Strauss.

You really root for the supporting cast, and forget about the main characters and all of their dynamic acting requirements.  This anti-method style was invented by none other than Fartivia Brown.  There is one other reason why the author of the screenplay, Vandagard Scot Fondellhert was awarded the first Double Nobel Prize for Literature and Things That Invoke Thought category that was added just for the occasion – the production of the film was finished in less time than it takes to watch the film.  Word is that the Nobel committee will only award the prize once in all of history and there is no talk that would indicate they intend to change that ruling for the foreseeable future.  Of course that may change, but I am just reporting what I know which is my job so let me doit.

Finally, Fowlcatcher, now barely able to hold her head up, makes one more try to dissuade her friends from flashing the president.  She says, look, it would be an indignity and a lowering of standards.  What would they be encouraging?  That their sons go out and do the very same thing with their president that they don’t like?  Does no one set an example anymore?  That their cats might want to try it if they didn’t get petted on the belly for bringing home a dead mouse?  Where is the line?  This is when the action picks up and it is breathtaking to watch.  She says, listen, where is the line?

“Where do you draw the line?” Mistress Fowlcatcher yells, removing her eyeglasses, “Huh?  That is my question to you.  Where is the line?  Is it here?  Or is it perhaps there?  Is it somewhere else?  Where is it?  That leads me to ask, who knows the answer?  And the only answer I can come up with, after decades of research, is that no one knows.  No.  One.  Knows - but maybe also at the same time we all know everything.”

This is cinema at its best.  Still, Stankovs and Sumway seem determined to pull off their plan even despite all of the misgivings presented to them.  They flash the president and the movie ends (the four areolas are blurred so that no child ever sees a woman’s bare breasts), leaving the viewers to decide what might or might not have happened afterwards.  Many also began to wonder what led the two to decide to do that.  Oftentimes, at a viewing of the film, the discussion lasts into the night, with many just wondering what it all might mean and coming to the conclusion that probably one day an awareness will set in that this was all normal but it only seemed odd at the time.

But was it just another case of breast-sploitation?  The director, Felad Gomes doesn't want us to know that but most tend to think the whole project would have collapsed without human female breasts that seem to be the focus of so much attention nowadays.  We leave it to the author, and the audience, to determine who is what?


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