Dir. Joseph Despins & William Dumaresq, 1971
UK, 72 min.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3 – 10:00 PM
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11 – 10:00 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21 – 8:00 PM
It might be that too many people want everybody to feel like a dog to them. If more than half the world wanted the other half to be their dogs, and the dog half didn’t want to be the dog half and please the master half, even if the dog half wasn’t a masochist, well, there’d be Hell to pay, I bet. That’s why I decided that since Louis Jack wanted me to be his dog, the least I could do was obey his every whim.
A revelatory, recent re-discovery, DUFFER is an independent British psychodrama that plays like an unholy melange of Hubert Selby Jr. and David Lynch. In his only acting role, Kit Gleave plays the title character, a wayward hustler who wanders the London streets between two lovers: Your Gracie (Erna May), a tender, matronly prostitute, and Louis-Jack (co-director and writer William Dumaresq), a wretched sadist who’s determined to control Duffer by having him bear his child (you’ve read correctly). As he contemplates love and codependency, Duffer’s world grows increasingly unhinged, culminating in a number of whimsical and disturbing episodes traversing gutters, bedrooms, and back alleys.
Narrated entirely in unhinged voiceover, with Dumaresq himself reading in the voices of the characters, DUFFER is delivered in an amiable cadence that, like the literary voices of Humbert Humbert or the narrator of Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart,” belies the gradual exposure of paranoid fissures. It might be simply described as a dark comedy, but the rough and wistful DUFFER contemplates the darkest recesses of the aching heart and disturbed mind.
Special thanks to Joseph Despins and James King.
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