Female Perversions (1996) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This is one fucked-up, pretentious movie, filled with symbolism, surreal dream sequences, bleached-out images, people wearing ancient masks, and other arty bullshit. There are visible boom mikes in at least two scenes.

Elya walked by while I was watching it, saw two women falling ever downward into the depths of a crucifix-shaped swimming pool, and said, "let me guess. A woman directed it."


Since this movie is not worth discussing, an interesting question might be, "what is the best movie ever directed by a woman?"

There have never been many to choose from, and the number is actually declining. Year after year, the percentage of films directed by men hovers around 95%. Martha M. Lauzen, a San Diego State professor who studied the issue, found that women directed seven percent of the 100 top-grossing films released in 2000, and that number dropped to four percent the following year. The situation is slightly better for screenwriters, but even there, women maxxed out at 14% in 2000, dropping to 10% in 2001. The most dramatic exclusion is in cinematography. Professor Lauzen's study shows that men were the cinematographers on 100% of the top 250 films in both 2000 and 2001!

No unquestioned masterpiece has ever been directed by a woman. The IMDb Top 250 includes no film which has been directed by a woman, although the acclaimed kiddie film Shrek (#111 of all time) was co-directed by a woman and a man. No woman has ever won the Oscar for best director, and only two have been nominated: Lina Wertmüller for "Seven Beauties" in 1976 (7.5 at IMDb), and Jane Campion for "The Piano" in 1993 (7.3 at IMDb), both of which are basically art house films.

Leni Riefenstahl, the "documentarian" who created Triumph of the Will (7.4), is often considered to be the most influential female filmmaker in history, although her contributions are often minimized by historians because they essentially served pro-Nazi propaganda.

Other female directors with successful recent films:

  • Kathryn Bigelow: Strange Days (6.9), K-19 (6.6), Point Break (6.5)
  • Julie Taymor: Titus (7.3) and Frida (7.5)
  • Martha Coolidge: Rambling Rose (6.7)
  • Nora Ephron: Sleepless in Seattle (6.7)
  • Agnieska Holland: Europa Europa (7.5)
  • Marleen Gorris: Antonia's Line (7.5)
  • Amy Heckerling: Fast Times at Ridgemont High (7.1), Clueless (6.7)
  • Penny Marshall: Awakenings (7.3), Big (7.2), A League of their Own (6.9)
  • Betty Thomas: Private Parts (6.5)
  • Penelope Spheeris: Decline of Western Civilization (6.9), Wayne's World (6.8)
  • Kasi Lemmons: Eve's Bayou (7.2), The Caveman's Valentine (6.2)
  • Sofia Coppola: The Virgin Suicides (7.1)
  • Mary Harron: American Psycho (6.7)

(It takes 7.7 to make the all-time top 250 at IMDb.)

Although Bigelow is the only one on the list who makes action films, none of the films listed above are truly chick-flicks by our objective definition, which requires that the rating from females at IMDb be at least a point higher than the male rating. Four of the films, Clueless, Frida, Eve's Bayou, and A League of their Own, come close to chick-flick status by that definition.

Although the overall 7.5 ratings indicate a dead heat for first place among four films - Seven Beauties, Frida, Europa Europa and Antonia's Line - a look inside the numbers shows that Frida is clearly ahead of the others. Female voters alone would place Frida into "classic" status at 8.2, and Frida also ties Seven Beauties for the highest score received from male voters, if one discounts the documentary movies.

Film (director)  Yellow=DOCUMENTARIES Male Score Female Score
K-19 (Bigelow) 6.6 6.7
Strange Days (Bigelow) 6.9 7.2
Point Break (Bigelow) 6.4 6.6
Fast Times (Heckerling) 7.1 6.9
Clueless (Heckerling) 6.5 7.4
Awakenings (Marshall) 7.3 7.6
Big (Marshall) 7.1 7.6
A League of their Own (Marshall) 6.8 7.6
Private Parts (Thomas) 6.5 7.4
Western Civilization (Spheeris) 7.2 7.5
Wayne's World (Spheeris) 6.7 6.6
Triumph of the Will (Riefenstahl) 7.6 6.1
Titus (Taymor) 7.3 7.3
Frida (Taymor) 7.4 8.2
Antonia's Line (Gorris) 7.2 7.8
Rambling Rose (Coolidge) 6.7 6.6
Sleepless in Seattle (Ephron) 6.6 7.1
Europa, Europa (Holland) 7.3 6.8
Seven Beauties (Wertmuller) 7.4 5.7
American Psycho (Harron) 6.7 6.6
The Virgin Suicides (Coppola) 7.0 7.1
Eve's Bayou (Lemmons) 7.0 7.8
The Caveman's Valentine (Lemmons) 6.2 6.5
The Piano (Campion) 7.2 7.7
All of the films on the list above are good, but it seems strange to be discussing them as the best of all time. After a century of filmmaking, it is not at all unreasonable to argue that last year's Frida is the best film ever directed by a woman. I think Frida is a good movie, and I think Taymor's own Titus might be even better, but I was surprised to see that there has never been a clearly better film from a female director than Taymor's movies, after all these decades. That's staggering.

Taymor is really a major talent, and may well yet get a best director nomination, but time is not on her side. For all her talent, didn't get to direct a full-length theatrical feature until she was 47 years old!

Film directing is the last boy's club.


  • Tilda Swinton and Amy Madigan - all
  • Karen Sillas - breasts
  • Marcia Cross- breasts

DVD info from Amazon UK

  • full screen, full negative

  • poor transfer

I should add that Female Perversions is in the major leagues of female celebrity nudity, and it features some fairly well-known actresses who have not gotten as naked elsewhere. Although women created the film, Zalman King produced it, so you know it will be filled with cheesy eroticism. On the other hand, Tilda Swinton is not my concept of a hot babe. With her giant protruding ears, angular face, and lifeless hair, she always reminds me of that kid who played Alfalfa on The Little Rascals. But I've found that there is a woman for every taste, so if you want to see Alfalfa nekkid and transexual, here's your big chance. To be serious for a second, she is a good enough actress that she managed to be quite sexy in a lot of scenes.

Well ...sorta sexy, anyway.

The Critics Vote

  • Panel consensus: three stars. Ebert 3.5/4, Berardinelli 2.5/4,

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 5.5/10 (Chick-flick status: males 5.2, women 6.3. A chick-flick is identified as any where the female score is one full point or more higher than the male score)
  • Amazingly enough, this grossed nearly a million dollars in arthouse distribution.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this film is a C-. It will have its arthouse audience, I suppose, but it is lifeless, humorless, affected, and pretentious.  I also had to take off points because it did not have any evil dwarfs - not even in the dream sequences - a clear violation of the Code of Pretentious Movie Conduct.

Return to the Movie House home page