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U.S.A., 1995, 16mm, color and B & W, 80 mins.
Starring Jessica Patton, Justin Bond, Robert Coffman, Boa, Alyssa Wendt
A Film by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld
with music by Neurosis, Amber Asylum, The Murmurs, & Panda
THE STORY "The Bride Wore Boots"
The night before Fanci's wedding to her luscious girlfriend
Loretta, a spell settles upon San Francisco. As power outages
course through The City, Fanci's friends and family are catapulted into a
tantalizing dream world where magic takes precedent over reality and
conventions crack. Plans for a mystical wedding ceremony are set into
motion; and as the night's wacky events unfold, Fanci struggles to make a
difficult leap away from her conservative parents toward independence and
the love of her new, alternative family. By the morning light, all of the
players are transformed. Will the marriage vows be spoken? Can family
stretch to embrace the night's sexual (mis)adventures? One thing is certain:
for Fanci and company, love is a many-gendered thing.
THE MESSAGE "Love is a Many Gendered Thing"
Celebrating the visual styles of Pedro Almodovar and John Waters, this
about-to-be occult classic stars San Francisco celebrities Justin Bond and
Robert Coffman as Irene and Irving Wiesenthal, Fanci's eccentric parents.
Alyssa Wendt and Charles Herman-Wurmfeld play the magician friends
responsible for the night's sexual madness, and Jessica Patton and Boa debut
as Fanci and her fiancee, Loretta. Special appearances by pop icons, Enrique
and a cast of grunge kids and drag queens make Fanci's Persuasion an
accurate portrait of San Francisco's dizzy and eclectic 20-something
The script of Fanci's Persuasion--a unique collaboration by two women and
two men--is spun from both gay and straight experiences, presenting an
expansive community in which no one is outside of the sexual or social
order. It is about the bridges which connect us as human beings--how despite
individuality and difference we are able to forge a common lineage. Like an
ancient pageant play, this narrative--adapted from Shakespeare's A Midsummer
Night's Dream--examines the struggle between tradition and innovation,
between parents and children, between obligation and desire. But Fanci's
Persuasion ultimately collapses traditional narrative conflict and turns
viewer expectation on its head. The result--a film which invites the widest
possible audience participation.
August 16, 1995 SEATTLE WEEKLY
"Every Saturday through mid-September you can catch Charles
Herman-Wurmfeld's goofy, decadent, highly stylized, and sporadically funny
FANCI'S PERSUASION. In this queer comedy about a spellbound night in San
Francisco, a lesbian bride-to-be freaks out and her friends and parents spin
into a sexual wilderness. Wurmfeld has a consistently unique eye for
wacked-out design and color, but his real strength is in getting some
genuinely, uh, dedicated performances from his actors, occasionally
recalling the early days of John Waters."-T.K.
December 1-7, 1995 LOS ANGELES VIEW
Like a high-school production put on by the queerest, coolest, most outré
kids in the class, FANCI'S PERSUASION, is pure camp and proud of it. Set in
San Francisco, this post-modern, in-your-face, polymorphously sexual comedy
tips its hat to such diverse stage and screen classics as A MIDSUMMER
NIGHT'S DREAM, CATS, TAXI DRIVER, and PINK FLAMINGOS. Writer/director
Charles Herman-Wurmfeld's debut feature is definitely not mainstream movie
fare, nor does it want to be (the film enjoyed successful midnight runs at
art houses in Seattle and San Francisco). Herman-Wurmfeld and company
transform San Francisco's urban world into an ultra-bright utopia filled
with Day-Glo colors, cotton-candy-pink platform boots, multiple eyebrow
piercings, and love, love, love. The film's best aspects are its satirical
eye and puckish disdain for conservative "family values."
On the spur of the moment, Fanci Wiesenthal (Jessica Patton) decides to
marry her lover Lorretta (Boa) despite the disapproval of her uptight
bourgeois parents Irene (well-known San Francisco drag queen Justin Bond)
and Irving (Robert Coffman). As a power outage gradually immerses the city
in darkness, Fanci struggles to break free from her parents' repressive
lifestyle, turning to her wacky circle of friends for help with the wedding.
Cynical Sophia (Rebecca Wink) warns Fanci that even in Eden, married sex
wasn't so hot: "Eve had to do it with a snake, she was so bored!"
Self-proclaimed mystics Olive (Alyssa Wendt and Theo (Charles
Herman-Wurmfeld) plan an elaborate pagan ceremony, while Maria the Cat
(Robbie D.) and Tony the Dog (Doug Kieffer) spend an evening in search of
San Francisco-style treats that frequently cross the boundaries of gender,
species, and good taste.
Some of the funniest - and most coherent - sequences are clever film
parodies. As a couple get it on in her cab, a bitter female Travis Bickle
spits out, "Every night I wash the come off the back seat - sometimes I wash
the blood!" And in a scene that recalls the recent GO FISH, Fanci's
girlfriends lie head to head in a circle and philosophize about their
erogenous zones: "The G-spot is like a love god or goddess," Fanci whispers.
"Some people believe in it, some don't."
If all this sounds like a party you'd like to attend, by all means grab a
friend, lover, dog, or cat, and run to the nearest midnight screening. But
be forewarned: when it comes to issues of taste, one person's camp classic
is another's 80-minute-long-migrane. If you're a John Waters fan, you'll
probably love FANCI'S PERSUASION. If you shudder at the sight of pink
flamingos, find something else to do with your Saturday night. -Claudine Isé
What Do The Critics
Have To Say About Turbulent Arts Release
THE BOSTON HERALD
"Blissful ... lighthearted mischief that's worth the whirl! ... FANCI'S
PERSUASION dips in and out of reality with some funny results ...
Herman-Wurmfeld keeps our attention with some wonderful touches ... A wildly
offbeat gender-bending comedy ..."
"Pure camp and proud of it ... By all means grab a friend, lover, dog or cat
and run to the nearest midnight screening ... if you're a John Waters fan,
you'll love FANCI'S PERSUASION."
"Kind of cozy and engaging ... while riffing smartly on Waters, 60's
avant-gardist Jack Smith and Kenneth Anger ... toss in some great camera
work ... a sure hand with costumes and color and FANCI'S PERSUASION ends up
a contender for cult-film status."
"Wonderful ... innovative ... surreal ... eccentric ... If you thought "Go
Fish" was un-p.c., FANCI'S PERSUASION makes those lesbian sexcapades look
downright tame. This is John Waters meets "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"
... FANCI'S PERSUASION has plenty of offbeat, stylish energy, more than a
few laughs, and offers a twisted look at ultra-hip youth, both gay and
straight, by rendering those labels hopelessly uncool and outdated."
THE DAILY CALIFORNIAN
"FANCI'S PERSUASION takes us to a fantasy land where even the most
unexpected seems ordinary ... and presents an imaginary world where the
bizarre is commonplace ... its imagery and themes provide limitless
possibilities for exploring issues of identity politics."
Deneuve, The Lesbian Magazine
"FANCI'S PERSUASION is pure camp!"
Girlfriends, The Magazine of Lesbian Enjoyment
"Not to be overlooked ... a visually decadent comedy ... watch it twice!"
The East-Bay Express
"Mom is played by Justin Bond with delicious evilness ... Fanci and her
retro-garbed friends are wonderfully in keeping with Shakespeare's sense of
gender ambiguity, but they are ever so current as well."
"...decadent, highly stylized and funny ... Wurmfeld has a consistently
unique eye for wacked-out design and color ... genuinely dedicated
performances ... occasionally recalling the early days of John Waters."
Seattle Gay News
"... drop dead cool ... the latest treasure for adventurous filmgoers ..."
"... a good-looking debut feature ... polysexual screwball farce ... a
self-contained gay punk boho universe ... Justin Bond steals acting honors
... over the top ..."
"The talk of the Austin Gay Film Festival ... Everybody enjoyed it."
On-Q, Bay Area Magazine
"...ultra-groovy entertainment ... mondo fun!"
The Stanford Daily
"... deft comic sense ... positively bizarre, but curiously touching ... a
divine exercise in toxic post-modern romance from beginning to end."
"Attitude is Queen ... Charles Herman-Wurmfeld has come up with a colorful
and visually composed romp that is surprisingly successful ... This is the
sensibility that gave birth to camp ... everyone was obviously having such a