Margaret moves to NYC in the hopes of making it big in fashion, quickly meets and moves in with bisexual nymphomaniac heroin dealer Adrian, and befriends fellow angular-jawed model Jimmy, who's also played by Carlisle. There are neon drenched nightclub scenes, truly weird spoken word performances, an incredible and totally surreal runway walk-off, and a progressive line-up of gender fluid characters wearing sharp, wide-shouldered suits, primary-coloured leather, and needle-thin stilettos — as styled by production and costume designer Marina Levikova.
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The film became an instant cult hit and has gone on to inspire countless creative figures in the time since its release. Now, as the film celebrates its 35th anniversary and is being re-released in cinemas around the world, we sat down with director Slava Tsukerman to hear more about how he made the darkly feminist film, and the lasting impact it has had on pop culture.
The Downtown New Wave Alien-Sex Extravaganza “Liquid Sky” Looks Better Than Ever | Village Voice
Ben practically created a system for getting cult films out there: midnight shows were his idea, for example. I knew it would become one. And it did.
We were also very influenced by modern art, and trends within that at the time. I encouraged Marina to create a special, unique style for the costumes, based on existing fashion that might be seen in the clubs, but more metaphorical, more exaggerated, and more stylised. I hoped that the audience would pick up the style we presented because it would mean Liquid Sky really had become a cult film, and it happened.
I think this critic really understood me: Andy Warhol was my idol at the time. It gave the whole thing a very mysterious feeling. My heart and eyes disagree that this digital sprucing is apostasy: The tangerine skylines, sweat-slick club dancers, grubby-chic apartments, ubiquitous neon, lavishly asymmetrical hairdos and so-primitive-they-fascinate alien effects demand truly to be seen. Each man Margaret expels to the void is another hole in the club scene.
LiquidSky: David Bowie
Tsukerman and Carlisle capture and honor the essence of a scene but also push that essence, tease it out like the towering pompadour she wears as Margaret to otherworldly heights. And Tsukerman, working with Neyman, has captured a singular vision of a twilight Manhattan haunted by the lost, the daring, the damned, the jonesing — and some aliens. The soundtrack is a dizzying synth carnival, coaxed out of a Fairlight CMI. Click here to sign up for our weekly film and TV newsletter.
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