Previously at the ICA - Films
16 Jun 2015
A Russian émigré to New York, Slava Tsukerman crafts a startling portrayal of the city’s 1980s new wave subculture, commenting on wider changes in Western society with dark humour.
Tsukerman explores a world of science fiction, loud music, drugs, and casual sex, fully conveyed through the Soviet-trained filmmaker’s concoction of parallel montage and early electronic music. The striking visuals of Liquid Sky provide a provocative representation of shifting values, where a young bisexual model negotiates relationships in which everyone has an ulterior motive.
Her girlfriend deals heroin while every man she meets attempts takes advantage of her, until an alien force provides her with a ruthless defence. The protagonist is purposely androgynous, a theme enhaced further by her male nemesis being played by the same female actor - a stunning double-portrayal by the versatile Anne Carlisle. This duality recalls the divided identity often assigned to women of the Classical Hollywood era, yet Tsukerman subverts the trope to find power in her sexuality. Ultimately, Liquid Sky’s hallucinatory images judge the consequences of excess in modern life, and their toll upon the individual.
Liquid Sky, dir. Slava Tsukerman, USA 1982, 111 mins
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