Friday, January 09, 2015

Library Sex

There aren't enough movies about young people finding unexpected fulfilment in becoming librarians. There is 1995's Party Girl, a sweet comedy that's largely a delightful showcase for its star, Parker Posey.

Posey plays Mary, indeed a party girl. She spends most of her free time and money organising and hosting parties. When she finds herself behind bars for a party for which she did not have the proper permits, she takes a job at the library where her godmother (Sasha von Scherler) works.

In It's a Wonderful Life, where James Stewart finding his wife in an alternate timeline has become a librarian, the occupation is painted as an indication of a dead-end existence. But there's a great deal of pleasure in watching Mary as she finds her knack for categorising clothes and people works great with the Dewey Decimal System. Soon she's organising records (whether he likes it or not) for her DJ roommate, Leo (Guillermo Díaz).

He has a less interesting subplot about getting a job at a very exclusive club. His presence is more interesting as an example of innocent explorations of sexual roles among platonic friends that seems to characterise a lot of 90s Indie films. He's not gay but that doesn't stop Mary from marching in the shower with him when he refuses to listen to her demand that she be allowed to take a shower first because she needs to go to work.

They kiss experimentally a moment but soon quit and Mary mutters, "Incest." Mary doesn't seem to have any female friends but it doesn't seem to put her into a specific category--there's a sort of casual ambiguity about sexual roles that makes me think of a diversity of 90s films from Chasing Amy to The Wedding Banquet to The Pillow Book. It's something that seems to have become a bit rare.

The primary appeal of Party Girl, as I said, is Posey and as nothing really earth shattering happens in the film it sort of feels like just spending a couple hours hanging out with a charming friend.

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