Institute History

  • 1995 Sundance Film Festival


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

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]