A film by Bette Gordon.
Original release date: 1983.
UK release date 11th August 2023
“A rich, ambiguous feminist touchstone.”
Sight & Sound
Penned by the late avant-garde novelist Kathy Acker, Variety follows Christine (Sandy McLeod), a smart and unassuming young woman who lands a job selling tickets at a pornographic theater in the vicinity of Times Square. As Christine becomes increasingly fixated on the erotic atmosphere, her life undergoes a profound transformation, impacting her relationships with her boyfriend Mark (Will Patton) and Louie (Richard Davidson), a patron of the theater.
Emerging from the depths of the underground New York City arts scene, Variety boasts an impressive lineup of talent, featuring cinematography by Tom DiCillo (known for ‘Living in Oblivion’), performances by Luis Guzman (of ‘Boogie Nights’ fame), Cookie Mueller - a regular in John Waters' works, and renowned photographer Nan Goldin. The film also features a score composed by actor and musician John Lurie (recognized for his contributions to ‘Stranger Than Paradise’ and ‘Down By Law’).
A pioneering exploration of female voyeurism and desire, Variety stands as a transgressive and deeply personal cinematic creation. It represents the influential work of a director who remains a beacon of independent cinema, and simultaneously serves as a nostalgic ode to a gritty, pre-Giuliani era of New York that has faded into the past.