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Mardi Gras Film Festival: “Spork.”

February 23, 2011

There is a really fantastic feature film coming up at the Mardi Gras Film Festival next week. Winning the audience award at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival, Spork is a feature-length film from director JB Ghuman Jr which explores belonging, identity and bravery.

Spork is the nickname of the main character: a pubescent, self-proclaimed “hermaphrodite” girl in junior high who is systematically bullied for being different.  She is gentle and frizzy-haired and socially awkward and talks to her deceased mother for advice, who is buried outside next to the caravan that she shares with her brother and his Courtney Love-esque partners in the trailer park on the outskirts of a nondescript suburban town. (Honestly, she looks like any coke-bottle lensed, plastic neon and denim anarco-punk queer from Marrickville.) Her loyal neighbour is the fast-talking black “booty-popping” champion, Tootsie Roll.

Of course, the bad girls are perfectly cast as the Britney-worshipping ‘queen bees’ and their bitchy top girl, Betsy Byotch. After Spork boils over and ‘accidently’ injures Betsy’s button nose, the insults and threats culminate in a school-spectacular dance-off. Tootsie takes Spork under her wing and into the throbbing underworld of booty clubs and excessive hair product. There is a lot of Sparkle Motion, a distinct ring of “Glee” in each musical number and a good dose of John Waters’ suburban irony and colour.

I was taken by the tender teenage love, hilarious and sassy one-liners and fantastic musical direction in this story that is focused less on her intersex status and more on the experience of feeling like a weirdo and finding true friends. Spork is also on the Youth Programme and is suitable for viewers aged 15+

Spork is showing at:
the Dendy Newtown on Wednesday March 2nd, 7:00pm.
and at Hoyts EQ Moore Park on Monday 28th February, 7:30pm.

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