No, it probably won't play in Peoria, which can't be much of a loss to Peoria. MY FATHER IS COMING is a low-budget, cross-cultural smorgasbord of fleshly delights.
It's set in New York City's fabled East Village, where German-emigre heroine Vicky (Shelley Kastner) lives in squalor and works as a waitress when she's not busy failing one acting audition after another. In her letters to Germany, however, Vicky has informed her bourgeois father Hans that she's
a successful actress with a loving husband and stable home life. When Hans sends word that he's going to pay his daughter a visit, Vicky tries to maintain the ruse. She enlists her leather-clad, very gay roommate Ben (David Bronstein) to pose as her straight spouse, and--well, that's about it.
The filmmakers appear to lose interest in the sitcom premise, and after father shows up the action fragments into casually related subplots and vignettes. Vicky, as unsure of her gender preference as she is of her future, falls for a tantalizing stranger named Joe (Michael Masses) who turns out to
be a transsexual, a woman surgically transformed into the ultimate sensitive guy. The revelation knocks Vicky off base and into the arms of her lesbian coworker Lisa (Mary Lou Graulau), where she deigns to stay.
Hans, stunned by his daughter's leap out of the closet, wanders through the Village where he encounters various nurturing oddballs, including a cheery, New Age sexologist (porn-star cum "performance artist" Annie Sprinkle) and an ardent body piercer (a fellow named Fakir Musafar who was featured
in the documentary DANCES SACRED AND PROFANE and is definitely not aided by makeup prosthetics) who suspends himself from the ceiling by blades speared through his gaunt torso as he patiently explains the pursuit of spiritual pleasure through physical pain and mutilation. It looks as good as it
The film thus paints a weirdly idealized portrait of the Lower East Side as kind of Emerald City of the flesh, where one can randomly stroll into a seedy storefront or decaying warehouse and find a wonderful wizard of eros ready to minister to the confused and uptight. These sexual shamans take
turns declaring how the body is just the envelope for the soul, do what makes you happy, don't dream it, be it, and so on, but the tone of the movie is more playful than doctrinaire. The informal narrative verges on amateurish as it roams about, skipping over transitional scenes and key moments.
One subplot has Hans unintentionally getting cast for a TV commercial, much to the despair of Vicky who's long hungered for such a gig herself. But the resulting commercial is never shown, and later father's evasive behavior hints that something pretty sordid might have occurred when he went to
shoot the ad. Or did it? Hard to tell; Alfred Edel, a big, friendly bear of a man, plays Hans with the bemused distraction of a curious non-actor who happened to visit the set during filming and was never told to leave. Shelley Kastner, making her movie debut, is winsome and appealingly
vulnerable. But the only real emotional impact is registered by Michael Massee, as Joe-who-used-to-be-Joan, when he sees that he's lost Vicky to another woman. His pain seems poignantly real, but the movie papers over it. C'est la vie boheme. Based in New York and Hamburg, scholar and filmmaker
Monika Treut's earlier efforts include the cult features SEDUCTION: THE CRUEL WOMAN and VIRGIN MACHINE. Treut is also the author of a book on de Sade and Sacher-Masoch, and her films confront and champion a multiplicity of sexual taboos and practices seldom addressed outside of abnormal-psychology
texts. While a sense of humor makes MY FATHER IS COMING somewhat easier to take, this unrated film is only for the most adventuresome of tastes and forgiving of sloppy narrative techniques. (Adult situations, sexual situations, nudity, profanity.)
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: NR
- Review: No, it probably won't play in Peoria, which can't be much of a loss to Peoria. MY FATHER IS COMING is a low-budget, cross-cultural smorgasbord of fleshly delights. It's set in New York City's fabled East Village, where German-emigre heroine Vicky (Shelle… (more)