Trash


1h 50m 1970

Brief Synopsis

Joe is a down-and-out junkie, living in New York's East Village, whose heroin addiction has rendered him impotent. Holly is his trash-collecting lover whose dreams of normalcy are constantly frustrated.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Experimental
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
New York opening: 5 Oct 1970
Production Company
Factory Films; Score Productions
Distribution Company
Cinema V Distributing, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color

Synopsis

Joe, whose drug habit has made him impotent, has an encounter with a go-go dancer in which her attempts to arouse him end in failure, and he returns to the dirty, rundown Lower East Side apartment he shares with his sometime lover Holly, a transvestite who scavenges the city's streets for articles of value. On the street Joe is approached by Andrea, a wealthy dropout who is anxious to buy some LSD. She offers him $20; he takes it, buys some heroin, goes to Andrea's apartment to inject it, and again fails to function sexually. Joe returns to his apartment in time to greet Holly, who has brought home a high school student in search of "soft" drugs. Holly gives the boy a shot in his buttocks. Joe breaks into newlywed Jane's apartment in a wealthy section of the city and is told there is nothing to steal. Thrilled with the possibility of being raped by a junkie burglar, Jane gives him a bath and passes him off as an old school chum when her husband unexpectedly arrives home. Joe demonstrates to the couple his method of injecting heroin; he overdoses himself, passes out, and is thrown naked into the street by the husband. Joe returns home and is told by Holly that he must kick his drug habit because her pregnant sister is coming to live with them. Once more unable to make love, Joe falls asleep, and Holly sexually satisfies herself with the neck of a bottle. The next day Holly's pregnant sister arrives, but the stay is curtailed when Holly finds her and Joe naked together. She throws her sister out and tries to evict Joe, but he apologizes, promising to stop using drugs. Later a welfare investigator visits Holly, who, inspired by her sister's visit, stuffs a pillow under her sweater and pretends to be pregnant. Holly's silver shoes catch the investigator's fancy, and he offers to put the couple on the welfare roll in exchange for the shoes. Holly refuses; a violent argument ensues; and Holly's deception is revealed. The investigator runs out, and the couple are left alone to their own devices.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Experimental
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
New York opening: 5 Oct 1970
Production Company
Factory Films; Score Productions
Distribution Company
Cinema V Distributing, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color

Articles

Flesh/Trash - The Early Films of Paul Morrissey on DVD


Between 1968 and 1972 director Paul Morrissey wrote, shot and directed three influential films that were later to become known as the "Flesh" trilogy.

The first, Flesh, in 1968 was an early attempt of Morrissey to break away from his previous experimental film work with Andy Warhol during the heyday of the "Factory" years. Though his name is often credited in the titles, such as "Andy Warhol's Flesh" or "Andy Warhol's Trash", Warhol merely financed the films and had little or no actual creative development with them.

Flesh, now on DVD from Image Entertainment, is a film that, compared to the other Warhol films of the time, was one that actually followed some sort of a plot, albeit a very loose one. Prior to the "Flesh" trilogy, the majority of the films being released were experimental, with titles like Sleep (1963) (six hours of footage of a man sleeping) and The Chelsea Girls (1966) two simultaneously screened films that depicted scenes of various "Factory" regulars improvising in several rooms of the notorious Chelsea Hotel in New York City.

Flesh follows Warhol regular Joe Dallesandro through a series of misadventures in seedy NYC and his interactions with a variety of friends, family and customers all of who discuss, partake, ogle and dismiss Joe as simply, a piece of flesh. The "plot" here is that he is selling his body to others in order to raise money for his wife's girlfriend's abortion.

The film is shot in a grainy, static way---jarring jump cuts and dialogue that is low and natural and is often cut off mid-sentence...one can even hear the camera whirring in the background! The film comes across as if you are watching someone's crude home movies. There is no real style and certainly no special effects or soundscapes; it's 100% natural---natural sound, natural, improvised performances - certainly this type of documentary style filmmaking was a major influence on the whole Dogma filmmaking practice of recent independent filmmakers such as Harmony Korine, Lars von Trier and others. The actors all exude a complete sense of unself-consciousness particularly with Dallesandro who spends a large portion of the film in various degrees of undress.

Whether you find Flesh entertaining or not, all depends on the level of patience that the viewer possesses. The long takes, the amateurish acting, lack of soundtrack, etc. could make for an irritating viewing for the average moviegoer. However, the film does contain some very funny and often touching scenes, particularly the scenes with female impersonators, Jackie Curtis and Candy Darling and the completely silent sequence of Joe spending time with his infant child. Though the film contains a lot of nudity and sexual content, the film still comes across with a sense of innocence in it's portrayal of a man trying to support his family by the only way he knows how.

The next film, Trash, from 1970 is certainly a more polished film and feels more like an actual narrative film than Flesh's semi-experimental approach. There seems to be a lot more thought and consideration in the camerawork and the actors are actually attempting to create genuine characters as opposed to the improvising seen in Flesh. Though Trash has it's share of improvisation, the performances here are much more watchable because there is an actual beginning, middle and end to the dialogue and scenes.

Trash stars Dallesandro again- this time playing a drug user living with his girlfriend, Holly (played by female impersonator Holly Woodlawn)- and the film follows Joe through another series of seriocomic adventures amongst the squalor and streets of New York.

The film's highlight is no doubt the enthusiastic and hilarious performance by Woodlawn. Like Divine in the films of John Waters, Holly Woodlawn isn't playing a female impersonator, or drag queen, but an actual female role. The viewer's true sympathies lie with Holly throughout the film in witnessing her attempts at trying to have a normal life and to achieve her goal of receiving welfare.

The title "Trash" has two meanings- the low-life Trash that Joe and Holly represent and the aesthetic look of the film as Holly collects junk and refuse from the street to decorate her home...of which she is extremely proud. Trash is a much better film than Flesh due solely to the appearance of Woodlawn.

The third film Heat in 1972 is the third and final chapter of the trilogy and this time finds Joe Dallesandro in a sexy spoof of Sunset Blvd. opposite Sylvia Miles. To read a review of Heat, Click Here.



All three films have been re-released on DVD by Image Entertainment. Originally released with no extras whatsoever, this time they are being made available with some welcome supplemental features including deleted scenes, photo galleries with audio commentary by Paul Morrissey.

For more information about Flesh/Heat, visit Image Entertainment.

by Eric Weber
Flesh/trash - The Early Films Of Paul Morrissey On Dvd

Flesh/Trash - The Early Films of Paul Morrissey on DVD

Between 1968 and 1972 director Paul Morrissey wrote, shot and directed three influential films that were later to become known as the "Flesh" trilogy. The first, Flesh, in 1968 was an early attempt of Morrissey to break away from his previous experimental film work with Andy Warhol during the heyday of the "Factory" years. Though his name is often credited in the titles, such as "Andy Warhol's Flesh" or "Andy Warhol's Trash", Warhol merely financed the films and had little or no actual creative development with them. Flesh, now on DVD from Image Entertainment, is a film that, compared to the other Warhol films of the time, was one that actually followed some sort of a plot, albeit a very loose one. Prior to the "Flesh" trilogy, the majority of the films being released were experimental, with titles like Sleep (1963) (six hours of footage of a man sleeping) and The Chelsea Girls (1966) two simultaneously screened films that depicted scenes of various "Factory" regulars improvising in several rooms of the notorious Chelsea Hotel in New York City. Flesh follows Warhol regular Joe Dallesandro through a series of misadventures in seedy NYC and his interactions with a variety of friends, family and customers all of who discuss, partake, ogle and dismiss Joe as simply, a piece of flesh. The "plot" here is that he is selling his body to others in order to raise money for his wife's girlfriend's abortion. The film is shot in a grainy, static way---jarring jump cuts and dialogue that is low and natural and is often cut off mid-sentence...one can even hear the camera whirring in the background! The film comes across as if you are watching someone's crude home movies. There is no real style and certainly no special effects or soundscapes; it's 100% natural---natural sound, natural, improvised performances - certainly this type of documentary style filmmaking was a major influence on the whole Dogma filmmaking practice of recent independent filmmakers such as Harmony Korine, Lars von Trier and others. The actors all exude a complete sense of unself-consciousness particularly with Dallesandro who spends a large portion of the film in various degrees of undress. Whether you find Flesh entertaining or not, all depends on the level of patience that the viewer possesses. The long takes, the amateurish acting, lack of soundtrack, etc. could make for an irritating viewing for the average moviegoer. However, the film does contain some very funny and often touching scenes, particularly the scenes with female impersonators, Jackie Curtis and Candy Darling and the completely silent sequence of Joe spending time with his infant child. Though the film contains a lot of nudity and sexual content, the film still comes across with a sense of innocence in it's portrayal of a man trying to support his family by the only way he knows how. The next film, Trash, from 1970 is certainly a more polished film and feels more like an actual narrative film than Flesh's semi-experimental approach. There seems to be a lot more thought and consideration in the camerawork and the actors are actually attempting to create genuine characters as opposed to the improvising seen in Flesh. Though Trash has it's share of improvisation, the performances here are much more watchable because there is an actual beginning, middle and end to the dialogue and scenes. Trash stars Dallesandro again- this time playing a drug user living with his girlfriend, Holly (played by female impersonator Holly Woodlawn)- and the film follows Joe through another series of seriocomic adventures amongst the squalor and streets of New York. The film's highlight is no doubt the enthusiastic and hilarious performance by Woodlawn. Like Divine in the films of John Waters, Holly Woodlawn isn't playing a female impersonator, or drag queen, but an actual female role. The viewer's true sympathies lie with Holly throughout the film in witnessing her attempts at trying to have a normal life and to achieve her goal of receiving welfare. The title "Trash" has two meanings- the low-life Trash that Joe and Holly represent and the aesthetic look of the film as Holly collects junk and refuse from the street to decorate her home...of which she is extremely proud. Trash is a much better film than Flesh due solely to the appearance of Woodlawn. The third film Heat in 1972 is the third and final chapter of the trilogy and this time finds Joe Dallesandro in a sexy spoof of Sunset Blvd. opposite Sylvia Miles. To read a review of Heat, Click Here. All three films have been re-released on DVD by Image Entertainment. Originally released with no extras whatsoever, this time they are being made available with some welcome supplemental features including deleted scenes, photo galleries with audio commentary by Paul Morrissey. For more information about Flesh/Heat, visit Image Entertainment. by Eric Weber

Quotes

Just because people throw it out and don't have any use for it, doesn't mean it's garbage.
- Holly

Trivia

The second part a trilogy completed with the films Flesh (1968) and Heat (1972). The three titles (flesh, trash and heat) are a reference to the popular expression "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll".

Notes

Copyright length: 90min. Filmed in New York City. Shot in 16mm. Copyright book credits Score Movies as production company and copyright claimant.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1970

Re-released in United States March 17, 2000

Released in United States on Video April 1988

Released in United States 1994

Released in United States June 1998

Released in United States 2000

Released in United States March 2000

Shown at San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (Holly Woodlawn Tribute) June 19-28, 1998.

Shown at Cinequest 2000: The San Jose Film Festival February 24 - March 5, 2000

Shown at New York Underground Film Festival (Gala Screening) March 8-14, 2000.

Originally distributed in the USA by Almi Cinema 5.

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1970

Re-released in United States March 17, 2000 (New York City and Los Angeles)

Released in United States on Video April 1988

Released in United States 1994 (Shown at AFI Film Festival (Paul Morrissey Retrospective / Tribute) in Los Angeles June 23 - July 7, 1994.)

Released in United States June 1998 (Shown at San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (Holly Woodlawn Tribute) June 19-28, 1998.)

Released in United States March 2000 (Shown at New York Underground Film Festival (Gala Screening) March 8-14, 2000.)

Released in United States 2000 (Shown at Cinequest 2000: The San Jose Film Festival February 24 - March 5, 2000)