Daria Gamliel for Cinetalk.net

Co-ed discussions about toxic masculinity and femininity introduce us to a group of beatnik friends. Suze and Arthur are an unusual couple with what appears to be a flip in the standard male and female roles. The olden days are seen through a much more modern lens, and a peculiar ambiance persists throughout Amanda Kramer’s Please Baby Please. How does something so retro feel so contemporary? The dialogue, the costume design, and the sets all feel modern though they clearly evoke the 1950s.

Soon enough Suze and Arthur encounter a gang of greasers. The danger these Young Lads bring to the neighborhood somehow mesmerizes the couple. So what does a high-femme in a perceived “masculine” role, and her average-Joe softie husband do but attempt to encounter the gritty greasers at any opportunity?

And sexual and gender freedom is around every corner! The dramatic lighting with its warm colors contrasting its cooler hues provide a perfect metaphor for the juxtaposition of male versus female archetypes – or the dismantling thereof. 

Please Baby Please is theatrical, a little campy, and gender non-conforming, even if the latter is not overly visually evident. Suze embodies everything that destabilizes gender norms. The portrayal of her character raises questions about gender representation both in film and in real life.  After all, what really makes us female or male anyway? Our hairdo? Our clothes, makeup, or whether we play with guns or with musical instruments?

Having Demi Moore as our upstairs neighbor doesn’t hurt. (Yep, she has a cameo role!).

A stylish frolic in queer Cinema.

 

Please Baby Please – previously screened

Official Fantasia Website