A unique documentary about a unique person – follow Divine’s life from humble Baltimore beginnings to superstar status as the Queen of Cult. Outrageous, courageous, shocking, challenging, unique. Many words can describe the bigger than life persona crafted by Harris Glenn Milstead, but perhaps the stage name the notorious muse of John Waters took for himself is the best descriptor of all – Divine.
Jeffrey Schwarz has an enlightening documentary about one of the gay community’s unsung heroes with which we are proud to be showing in our 10th anniversary year as part of the John Waters weekend. Charting the life of the ultimate outsider, Schwarz’s film shows how Divine transformed himself from the fat, bullied, Baltimore school boy, brave and unapologetic for who he was even then, into the ultimate cult icon first glimpsed in the underground films of the ground-breaking director Waters. Divine wasn’t just a female impersonator. He was a loud, brash voice that stood up for millions of gay men and women who couldn’t make themselves heard, just by being out there and visible and defiant in the face of normalcy. I Am Divine beautifully marries archive footage with insightful interviews from those who knew the superstar performer best. You’ll be moved to tears of laughter as you hear from the inimitable Waters about how those early films got made, and then reach for the tissues a second time as you listen to an honest and open confession from his mother, about how she initially rejected Divine for his outlandish lifestyle. A film that is a timely reminder of the singular beauty and entertaining bold vision that was Divine, and a lesson to us all to remain true to ourselves and be exactly who we want to be.
Screened with Ephemeral Nature by Gsus Lopez 2012