Archives / 1995 Sundance Film Festival

Party Girl

Director: Daisy von Scherler Mayer

Screenwriters: Harry Brickmayer, Daisy von Scherler Mayer

Institute History

  • 1995 Sundance Film Festival

Description

This improbable tale of a young woman who goes from organizing the most hip and outrageous parties on the New York scene to working in a library is the vehicle for a delightful and often very funny satire on career choices. Parker Posey as Mary, hostess extraordinaire, sparkles in a role that alternately charms and seduces you. Mary is living close to the edge; she is terminally cool, yet becoming increasingly jaded by an existence that doesn’t provide enough support, emotionally or financially. When her roommate walks, Mary stages a rent party, strictly illegal, and lands in the slammer. Desperate, she calls on her godmother and guardian, Mrs. Lindendorf, who offers her a way out: a job as a library clerk, which she has always regarded as hopelessly straight. Whether she’ll last, or end up like her friend Rene, the aging, strung-out diva of New York’s club scene, is the crucial question.

Director Daisy von Scherler Mayer demonstrates a very adept and light touch in propeling this story forward, peopled with a slew of eccentric characters, ranging from Mary’s friend, Leo, a DJ who’s trying to make it into the club scene, to Mustafa, who runs a falafel stand and with whom Mary gets involved. But this is as much Posey’s film as Mayers’s, for her quirky expressiveness and assertive screen presence are truly reminiscent of those great comedic screen heroines of the thirties and forties, Carole Lombard and Jean Arthur. Along with a punchy and witty script (self-described as a Depression-era comedy set in the nineties), Party Girl represents the kind of offbeat, personal filmmaking that gives independents a good name.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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