Beauty Becomes the Beast

by Dick, Vivienne

Film: super-8 1979


Using fragmented images of women and a central performance from Lydia Lunch as both a tormented five year old and a troubled teenager, this film looks at the mother and daughter relationship and examines the cyclical relationship between the two. Opening with a blast from Teenage Jesus and the Jerks – Lydia Lunch's band – the film trails Lydia as she runs away from home having fallen out with her mother, taking with her a battered, bald doll to whom she plays mother. The film cuts between images of women on TV, (Lucille Ball), along with posters and adverts on the street, a woman in her kitchen, as well as members of the punk scene such as Adele Bertei who was featured in Dick's first film, Guerillere Talks. These images of patriarchical culture contrast with those of the sexually precocious 'child-girl', tormented by demons commanding her to 'be dirty', who oscillates between being a child crying for her mother and adopting a position of maternity in relation to her doll.


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