Variety by Bette Gordon

Variety bette gordon fffest 2019.jpg


1983 / 100mins / DCP / Watch Trailer

DIRECTOR: Bette Gordon

Q&A with Bette Gordon and Katherine Bauer, Co-President The Film-Makers' Cooperative

The sexually charged tale of a woman's journey of self-discovery, Bette Gordon's VARIETY is a fascinating independent film that challenges common notions about feminism and pornography. Emerging out of the underground NYC arts scene that produced the late '80s boom in American independent cinema, VARIETY contains the contributions of an impressive array of talent, including cinematographer Tom DiCillo (LIVING IN OBLIVION), actor Luis Guzman (BOOGIE NIGHTS), a script by the late cult novelist Kathy Acker, and a score by actor and musician John Lurie (STRANGER THAN PARADISE). Renowned photographer Nan Goldin appears in a supporting role, as does Mark Boone Junior (MEMENTO).

Christine (Sandy McLeod), a bright and unassuming young woman, takes a job selling tickets at a porno theater near Times Square. Instead of distancing herself from the dark and erotic nature of this milieu, Christine soon develops an obsession that begins to consume her life. The character's reaction unexpectedly flips normal gender roles; director Gordon daringly twists feminist ideology by showing a woman who finds self-expression through an interest in pornography. VARIETY becomes even more provocative when it dramatizes the changes that occur in Christine's relationships with both Mark (Will Patton), her boyfriend, and Louie, a dangerous-looking patron of the theater.

A pioneer in American independent film, Bette Gordon is an award-winning filmmaker known for her bold explorations of themes related to sexuality, violence, and pornography. Her early short films, most notably EMPTY SUITCASES, won numerous awards and Festival acclaim worldwide, including showings at the Berlin International Film Festival, New York's Museum of Modern Art and The Whitney Biennial. VARIETY (1984) marked her debut as a feature film director, particularly in light of the film's invitational showing at The Cannes Film Festival's Director's Fortnight. Some of her films are now a part of permanent collections in several different museums including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Katherine Bauer works primarily with celluloid film and cinematic structure in its material potential for sculpture, photography, installation and live performance. Much of Bauer’s work involves mythologies, folklores, and female subjectivity as told through through the means of visual media archaeology. Her films are distributed by The Film-Makers’ Cooperative of New York, for which she also serves as the Co-President of the Board of Directors.

* Preceded by a showing of I-94 dir. Bette Gordon (1974/ 3mins)

Presented by







Saturday, October 26th, 2019



Please arrive at least 10 minutes early as screenings & panels will start on time.



Quad Cinema

34 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011