By Víctor Paz Morandeira
American filmmaker Bette Gordon was in the spotlight in 2020 due to the recent restoration of her cult film Variety (1983), which found an obstacle in its way to theaters in the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately Play-Doc International Film Festival (Tui, Spain) gave us the opportunity this year to discover this gem on the big screen. The story depicts the life of a young woman who works in a porn theater in Manhattan selling tickets. Not only does the film subvert the traditional idea of female representation, but it also shows hidden unconventional human landscapes of New York by having the protagonist follow a mysterious client around the city. Gordon inverts the Madeleine-like stereotype of the beauty that exists only for the pleasure of the male gaze in a very playful way, delivering a feminist film – profoundly influenced by Laura Mulvey’s essays put into practice – that does not feel militant at all.